Wednesday, January 7, 2009

January: The Short List

So, I've decided that in order to actually make any progress in life, I need to lower my expectations.

I have only twelve New Year's resolutions this year.

Wait, wait. I can hear the laughter now. Honestly, I really have scaled back. In the words of Inigo Montoya: "Le' me 'splain. No, there is too much. Le' me sum up."

Each New Year, I would pick several (or occasionally one) resolution. Something like "Lose weight", "Exercise more", "Get to bed earlier", etc. Not too bad, right? Not. I would turn that one simple thing into a huge list, with tons of bullet points and schtuff to do each day.

Overwhelming.

So, this year, I'm taking one simple thing each month (turns out it's a good idea) and just worrying focusing on that. For January, I'm focusing on what I call "Short Lists". Each day I think of (and sometimes record) no more than three things I really want to accomplish. Today it was: (Italicized notes are mine from today. Non-italicized are from the day's original list.)

Clean the floors.
Pick up the book club book at the library.

Yesterday:

Bathe kids
Visit the Cox family. (Name changed.)
Baby-sitter's knitting lesson (Barter is awesome.)
Put kids to bed (Vern's gone tonight to superman-programmer's group meeting.)

Monday's Short List:

Make Vern's Pie
Nap the Kids
Wrap gifts.

Now, yesterday's list got away from me, because it was too long. The first one slipped through the cracks. (We were still a half hour late to the Cox's house, but it turned out alright in the end.) However, I've noticed that I'm actually getting to the things I put on the list. I'm astounded.

For the last several years (five? seven?) I've made careful, extensive lists, and then ignored them with all the power of my being. This is not an effective way to get things done. So, in the last year or two, I reserved lists for grocery shopping and sometimes road trips, and largely shot from the hip on everything else. (I always had a calender, but seldom used it.)

So, I'm taking back my beloved and long-lost lists, in the hopes that I'll never fear them again. In honor thereof, I give you the rest of this year's monthly resolutions:

1. The Short List
2. ____________
3. ____________
4. ____________
5. ____________
6. ____________
7. ____________
8. ____________
9. ____________
10. ____________
11. ____________
12. ____________

It's an organic process. ;o)

I'm making it up as I go along, depending on what I learn from my new book, and how our life here in the green PacNW evolves.

That is, if the house doesn't fall on us in the night. The wind tonight is frightful. (I'm not accustomed to hearing the siding rattle. It's hardiplank.)

5 comments:

the glitter fairy said...

Impressive! Good luck with your short lists and thanks for the book info. I'm a list-maker, too, and if I get as many as three things accomplished a day, I'm ecstatic. Our lives are so full ad unpredictable - glad you found a system that works for YOU.
Best,
Laurie

Kelly said...

Hello,
My husband loves when I create lists (vacations, grocery, cleaning, etc.) I am just not that motivated. You have given me something to ponder! Also, I don't live on Gusty Ct for not getting the worst winds all of the time. I hear those siding pieces actually fall off. My tree in the back yard split in two a few months ago. Mother Nature can be brutal. I hope you are safe.
Kelly

Colleen formerly of South Africa said...

I love lists....its just hard to remember where I put them!

Shan said...

The first line is the best and I'm thinking of quoting you in a one-line blog post. AWESOME.

Lexi said...

I am finding that short lists leave me feeling better at the end of the day... if I could just let them be short! I have the bad habit of making "sub" lists too... just in case I finish the main one... this back fires though because I usually like the sub lists better. I think this is a great goal! Go Girl!