The weather outside is dreary. It is a cold, rainy/snowy day. It’s the kind of day that makes you want to curl up on the couch with a soft blanket and nap. The kids are independently working and I have some time to work on my to-do list for the week. Every week, I compile a list of the things that I want to get accomplished. The usual things such as cleaning the house, getting materials ready for the next week, creating units that they want to study, etc. Each week, I work as hard as I can to check off those items, only to do it all over again.
Today, I was looking at my to-do list and I couldn’t help but think of the things that are missing. I need to pay the utilities this week. I need to add that. I have to sign the youngest up for basketball. I need to add that. My list gets longer, but the amount of time that I have to get things done is the same. I work diligently to check items off and when I go to bed I should have a sense of accomplishment about the things that I finished that day. Only, I don’t.
You see, when I go to bed I think about all the things I didn’t do that day. I think about the opportunities that I had, that I wasted. My son wanted me to play cards with him, and I was busy doing something else. My daughter gave me a hug and I quickly patted her and kept working. I am not an absent parent, but there are times that I am dismissive because I have a goal that I need accomplished.
My to-do list keeps me focused. But, it also keeps me rigid at times. If I have too much on my list I feel the stress creeping into the back of my shoulders. I feel the tension, and then I get stressed and irritated. I know that there is nothing on that list that absolutely has to be done in that moment. I have my kids lessons planned up through the end of January. The unit I am working on? It’s not needed for another month. There are things that are urgent, and things that can wait.
I need to do a better job of completing items on my to-do list. I need to prioritize my list, and if I have my must do’s completed, I need to take time to be spontaneous. To do, or not to do? That should be my question. My to-do list should include some moments for myself and my family, but it shouldn’t need to be written. Play a card game with my son. Make a batch of cookies for my husband. Watch a Hallmark movie with my daughter. Sit in the floor and work a puzzle with my other son. Read a few chapters in my book. Take a nap. Call my mom. Stop letting my to-do list run my life. Those are the items that should be my priority.