There was a time in my life when multitasking was the only way to get through each day, every day, all year round. It’s an essential skill when looking after family, home, and work. The ‘to do’ list is never done. As fast as you tick off one task, two more seem to jump onto the list. It reminds me of a scene in Percy Jackson and Lightning Thief… the one where the plucky trio are battling the Hydra. As soon as one head was chopped off – it grew two in its place.
So how do you do battle with the monstrous to do list? Just keep chopping like mad, hoping you can tick the tasks off faster than they can multiply? I think, for most of my adult life, that was my strategy. Now that the Cost Centres (kidults) have grown up and got their own jobs, but still at home, is it still necessary to keep up this ‘headless chicken’ activity?
I say ’no it’s not’. I don’t feel the need to keep multiple plates spinning simultaneously. In fact, I don’t think it’s a healthy thing to do at any stage in one’s life. I’m reminded of something my Mum used to say – ‘Jack of all trades, but master of none’, usually followed up with advice to stop and take a break. Of course, some tasks are simply non-negotiable – we just have to suck it up and get on with it. But not all of them fall into this category. Something needs to happen to regain some balance and move away from a human doing, towards a human being.
Lately I’ve been looking at my ‘to do’ list and wondering if all of them really need to be ‘done’. And do they need to be done by me? Looks like it’s time for one of my ‘time out’ sessions, where I take a good long look at the goals I’ve set myself and the corresponding priorities. Is this where I really want to spend my precious energy and time? Whose goals are they, in reality? Do I really need so many? Are they realistic? Who decides a thing ‘must’ or ‘should’ be done? If I don’t do them, does this mean I’ve failed somehow?
Just to prove to myself how unrealistic it is to expect one person to do all those things, even the nice-to-do things, in one day, I wrote them out into a daily planner. It turns out I would need an extra 8 hours per day just to get through them. Get through them, not do them to the best of my abilities… and there I am, being a jack of all trades again.
Some items are being trimmed back from ‘daily’ to two/three times per week, while others are being boosted from once in a blue moon to daily. I have two simple criteria:• beneficial to body, mind, and soul. I figure if they are good for my overall health and wellbeing, then they will benefit the Dean household• realistic – e.g. get my body weight into the healthy zone. My unrealistic goal was to lose exactly one stone (14 lbs) as I would earn a badge on Slimming World. What was I thinking? I set a target based on an imaginary badge. Bonkers! I’ve since adjusted it to a healthier,more achievable target and my inner neat freak will just have to deal with it.
Anything else on the list is being refiled under ‘B’ for bin!
How do you deal with your ‘to do’ list? Share your nuggets of wisdom in the comments section.