I am a to-do list-maker.
Gotta have a plan.
Try as I may to be spontaneous, for me it always comes back to making a list and checking it twice. And not just at holiday time.
I also believe in the innate power of this practice. It’s how we remember things without tying up unnecessary — or limited — brain cells. Plus it can contribute to turning a desired behavior into a habit.
I was in high school when my mom went back to work. Before leaving the house each morning, dishes were done, beds were made and laundry hung on the line. That set the tone for her day and eliminated undone tasks awaiting her return.
I reflected on my own “everyday list” recently.
In addition to work-related tasks, on any given day the “mortar” that held everything else together included saying please and thank you, I’m sorry or excuse me where appropriate, and liberally sprinkling in compliments.
My husband, Ron, and I have developed our own “everyday list” that are habits which serve us both well. Can’t take full credit here, but I’m pretty proud of the fact that they stemmed from the fact that we actually like each other, and after all, aren’t you supposed to treat those you like, and love, the very best? So, that respect spilled over and now, in addition to the popular, “Always kiss me goodnight” rule of thumb, we check in, praise and raise each other up, and find ways to laugh. Yes, every day. It truly is the best medicine. Besides which, there will always be plenty to cause us worry, pain or sadness so any chance to lift our spirits is time well spent.
Some might suggest that writing too many things down makes our minds lazy. I disagree.
I feel like committing pen to paper, a physical target if you will, nudges us toward keeping the important things top of mind.
Just a short list. But when turned into habits, they’re second nature.
One of the best examples of this are character traits. As a Christian, I know the basics — the “Thou Shalt Nots” as found in the Ten Commandments. As such, when I get up each morning and set my intentions for the day, I don’t need to consult a list or say, “OK, today I’m not going to murder anyone, rob a bank or lie.” Why? Because these are things I KNOW. They’re committed to memory, and to action. I decided long ago that there are just certain behaviors I will and won’t do.
Ultimately, life boils down to choosing two things — who we will serve, and who we will be.
Those are actually at the top of any list I make. With or without having to write them down.
The cool thing about this concept, as any good carpenter knows, is it’s a “plumb line” that weighs and measures things more accurately and keeps them in line.
Point is: We all have “everyday lists.” What’s on yours?
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