Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Book of Lists

What's on your list today?

My list says:
1) Oil Changed
2) Seamstress
3) Blog
4) Copies of papers
5) Mail Package
6) Dry cleaners
7) Sears
8) Start Column
9) Prescription Refilled
10) Make Orthodontist Appt.
11) Grocery List
12) Grocery Store
13) Price Software
14) Organize Bathroom Cabinets
15) Wash Clothes

And believe it or not, I'm still adding things as I sit here. Your list is probably as long as mine and is similar in tasks of the daily grind. And like me, even though you likely know you cannot accomplish all these duties, after chastising yourself this evening for not getting enough done you will transfer unfinished items to tomorrow's to-do list.

Lists like these emphasize how routine our lives are; how we move forward putting one foot in front of the other, doing the same menial obligations again and again. Granted, these objectives must be met. I can't very well let my kids grow up with crooked teeth and dirty clothes just because orthodontists and washing machines don't rev my motor. And I expect I will find a gold mine of Ivory Soap in the back of my linen closet when I straighten it up.

BUT, what if I threw in

16) Paint the kitchen sunshine yellow


5) Schedule an October fall leave tour of North Georgia


1) Send in my resume for that dream job advertised in the paper

What is the worst that could happen? - I feel blinded at breakfast, I accidentally schedule a get-away on a UGA home game weekend, and my resume gets laughed at and thrown in the trash.

What's the best that could happen? - My kitchen refreshes me each morning, my husband gets a twinkle in his eye, and I land that over-the-top position I've always wanted.

We categorize our lives down to lists because we fear losing control of our day-to-day. Lists keep us focused and progressing. Crossing things off of our lists is a way to prove we have accomplished something in our 12 hours of daylight. When our husbands walk through the door and ask, "What have you done all day?" we can produce the list. Lists give us an illusion of safety from the uncertainties of life.

I would never suggest abandoning THE LIST. It has its place. Besides, we can use THE LIST to our advantage. We can use it to overcome our fears.

TODAY'S ASSIGNMENT: First, buy a beautiful journal to replace those random scraps of paper or that spiral notebook you've been using to write your lists. THIS is your new BOOK OF LISTS.

Next, write today's list in it. Yes, write down the list that says to get your brakes checked, make the kids' dentist appointments, and clean out the silverware drawer. From here on out, write every day's list of tasks in your BOOK OF LISTS. ***Somewhere in each day's list write something unexpected to do, such as kiss the dog, call your mother-in-law just to chat, or roll down the hill in your backyard. AND make sure you check it off by the end of the day.

Finally, keep all of your other lists in the BOOK OF LISTS as well. Write down all of your creative ideas for home improvement, all the professions you would like to do when you "grow up," every type of dog you think you might ever want to own, restaurants you want to eat at, vacations you want to take, and, of course, 100 things to do before you die. Then get started crossing things off these lists. Time is shorter than you think, and when you get to heaven and God asks, "What have you done all these years?" you want to be able to show Him your list.

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