Do you hate your to do list?
I used to. I needed them, but I hated them. They were a constant reminder of how pathetic I was because I never finished them. There was always something that got moved to the next day, and even if I accomplished everything on the list, it never felt like enough. That, my friends, is what we call stinkin’ thinkin’, and it was incredibly demotivating.
Mom never needed a to do list
I was raised by a mom who was naturally organized. She cleaned the house every week. She relished it and crabbed at us if we “messed up her clean house” for several days after. My room was never clean enough. I never cleaned the bathroom thoroughly enough on the first try, and I had no idea how to organize. Is it any wonder I clashed with my mom about cleaning and ended up hating it?
Tried the to do list
My mom knew what to do. I didn’t and when I tried, it was never good enough, so I thought I would try a to do list. It sounded like a good idea. It organized tasks for my disorganized brain. The problem was that it felt like a punishment. When I looked at the list, especially when it felt like the same list day after day, I felt defeated and worthless. I just couldn’t do everything on the list like my mom did, so I must be a failure as a housewife. Have you ever felt this way?
Why your to do list may look different
I forgot about the fact that I had a child with extraordinary needs to take care of. It slipped my mind that my mom never played a game or watched a movie with us during the day. She didn’t go swimming with us, take us to the zoo or go with us to the local amusement park on a regular basis. Instead, we went to the zoo and the amusement park once during the summer, and the only time I ever remember my mom swimming with me was on a camping trip when the temperatures reach triple digits. So, I was a fun mom, but my house was still a wreck.
I realized I couldn’t do things like my mom did. I loved hanging out with my kids and being the fun mom, but I hated being the wife who couldn’t keep a clean house. It went on that way for a while until I heard a few things that changed the way I looked at my to do list. First, I changed my language. Instead of cleaning my house, I focused on blessing my family. It was much easier to clean a toilet when I thought about how clean I wanted it to be if one of my family members got sick or if someone I cared about stopped over. Vacuuming was easier when it meant my children and I could crawl around the floor and not have dirty knees and toes. Cleaning for my family rather than because of them changed my attitude and made me hate my to do list less.
Making your to do list your own
The next thing I learned that helped me hate my to do list less was to break those blessings down into smaller time increments. Look, I’m not going to clean a house for four hours. That is pure torture for me, but I can happily clean for 15-30 minutes. Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking there’s no way I can keep my house clean in 15-30 minutes per day. I disagree, and I will show you how. You do it by Finding the Sweet Spot in Your Home and using The Magic of Fifteen Minutes. These two concepts will launch you on a journey to take back your home 15 minutes at a time. Don’t believe me? I double dog dare you to try two 15-minute sessions for one week and let me know what happens. I’m telling you, it’s magic.
How to hate your to do list less and less
The next thing that helped me to hate my to do list less was to stop calling it that. I now refer to it as the list. It sounds simple, I know, but simple solutions are often the most powerful, and when you Change Your Words, you change your life. Now I keep a master list of things I would like to accomplish in the near future that I update daily. I have a list of daily blessings that I keep in a sheet protector on my fridge that I mark of with a dry erase marker, and I have a daily planner that I keep track of everything I accomplish in a day. So many days I feel like I accomplish nothing until I look at what I crossed off my list. It may not be what I set out to accomplish, but it reminds me how much I do each day.
Transforming your life
The thing is, if I learned how to hate my to do list less, anyone can. I’m the girl who had a messy room growing up, who left shoes everywhere, whose car needed cleaning before passengers could ride in it. I needed at least a day’s notice for a visit and a week for an overnight guest, and I exhausted myself regularly prepping for birthday parties, holiday gatherings and playdates. That all went away when I learned what to do and the best way to do it for me. The best part is that while the principles work for everyone, everyone’s system ends up a little bit different, and that’s the way it should be. We all hate our to do lists less and succeed more. I love that.
Are you ready to get started? Do those two 15-minute sessions daily. Want to up your game even more? Get the book What Your Clutter is trying to Tell You and add a 15 minute declutter session to your day. Be sure to sign up for our email community for the latest and best inspiration and support as you create your best life, every single day.Like what you see here? Click here for ways to support the Moving Toward Better mission.