Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Big To Do

Not that this picture has anything to do with this post, but isn't she cute? And two days of text-only posts would be lame.

I'm a big believer in the "to do" list.

I carry a little notebook in my bag and am constantly jotting down things I need to do, want to do, groceries to get, books to read, etc. It helps me focus during the day to the notebook beside me, when I think of something I need to do, I jot it down and then it's not on my mind for the rest of the day.

But you know what. Lately these "to do" lists have been letting me down (and then even more so after we returned from vacation). Though the lists weren't getting any longer - daily they are pretty lengthy to begin with - but I was finding I was having a difficult time tackling any of it, let alone all of it.

Now that I'm thinking about it, the change may have come when I started C25King. My priorities shifted. Well, that's good that I figured that out. But then when we returned from vacation, I found I had very little (ok, zero) motivation to do anything in the household upkeep department. Case in point: the laundry we did the week before leaving on vacation was still sorted and on the chair in our bedroom until a three weekends ago! It sat and I picked out of it for nearly 6 weeks. I know, I know, how does that happen?! All I can say is thank goodness I bought new clothes for vacation because that really helped get through 6 weeks of laundry negligence.

So my motivation for household upkeep kept dipping closer and closer to zero, Mike was trying to pick up the slack, but that's not fair, and that motivation deficit was starting to creep into other areas of life. Case in point: It took me a month and a half to edit all our vacation photos, and therefore nearly two months to post a recap of the vacation on this here blog.

Finally a couple weeks ago, I realized I really needed to swing things around or else I'd become something I really don't want to become. My house would become a sty. I'd eventually lose motivation to exercise. Eating habits would revert, then worsen. And I'd spend a lot of time laying on the couch watching the home shopping network because its what's on.

So I came up with a new system.

Instead of amassing a giant list of things that I need/want to get done each day after work, I decided I needed to pare that down to three things.

My 3 Goals Today.

Three is a manageable number. It helps me make sure the things really count in the grand scheme of things. And it doesn't get me stressed out to see three things on the list, like a list of 10 or 15 would (yes, my lists would include piddly things each night that quickly add up). In addition to the three goals, I also try to come up with some sort of incentive to the goals done, like being able to sit down and watch a favorite tv show or knit. I tell myself if I can get one goal completed and another started then it's ok to sit down for 30 minutes or an hour to laugh or be intrigued in front of the tube.

I've been at this for a few weeks now and it's really helping me get things done (eg: vacation photos - several hundred in 2 days! instead of 2 weeks to get through 1 day's worth). And changing my outlook on a lot of things. Where before I was slipping down an unhealthy, dirty slope, I am now seeing the light of motivation to do a lot of things (new cleaning routines and purging to name a few) and where before I would probably jump right into all these new ideas I had, I am using my 3 Goals Today to manage my enthusiasm so I don't end up burning myself out.

If you're finding you're having a tough time getting things done or you're getting overwhelmed, I recommend giving 3 Goals a shot.

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