Lately I’ve been feeling ineffective, and like I have not done anything “blogworthy.” I haven’t tackled any huge projects, or made any big changes around the house. I thought I really wasn’t accomplishing much. Then I thought that some of you had probably felt that way too, unless I’m mistaken.
A couple of days ago, as I was playing my eternal game of “podcast catch-up,” I listened to a recent episode of “Happier with Gretchen Rubin.” If you are into podcasts and haven’t tried this one out yet, I recommend it. Anyway, in Episode 134 she talked about writing a “Ta Da” List, an idea she hear from a commenter. The basic idea is that instead of writing a to do list, you write a list of everything you’ve accomplished during the day or the week.
I tried doing this and realized how much I was actually accomplishing that I wasn’t even counting because it wasn’t the big stuff—big projects or changes as I mentioned above. How many times do we do that to ourselves? Think of the many things we’re doing every day as not that much or not important because we do them so often they just become background noise?
I work, as many of you may know, full time at a bank, and that keeps me pretty busy. I’m in the back office, not in a branch, and my responsibilities are varied, but there are plenty of them to keep me busy. I have limited time at home during the week, and use a great deal of that time making dinner and taking care of my kids, mainly my youngest daughter since the other two are older and more self-sufficient. What all this means is that I really only have weekends and any extra days off for bigger projects.
Weekends are also for grocery shopping, clothes shopping if needed, birthday parties and anything else we want to do. It doesn’t leave much time left over.
I know many of you, whether you work at home or outside your home, are in the same boat. It’s easy to lose track of all we do accomplish because we’re so busy looking at what we didn’t.
So this week, I have a challenge for you:
Write a “Ta Da” List
Whether you do it daily or weekly, or throughout your whole day, keep track of all of the things you spend time doing. You can keep it as a list, or a timeline of your day. At the end of the day/week, look at your list. I think you’ll be surprised by the sheer number of things you do. I kept one at work for a couple of days as well, and suddenly I understood why I was so exhausted at the end of the day.
Here is just some of what was on my list:
Wake up and make sure my older daughter is awake and getting ready to get on her school bus
Walk the dog
Feed the dog, the two grown cats and the kitten
Shower and dress
Wake up my youngest daughter, M., get her moving so she can do the many things on her list
Make snack and lunch (if needed) for M
Clean up any dishes left over from the night before or that morning
Get my lunch together if I’m bringing one
Help M. do her hair
Get her on the bus
Gather my stuff and drive to work
Work 8 hours
Take the dog out (my son is with him during the day)
Get M. ready for bed (showered, changed, teeth brushed, inhalers)
Blog or house work or online courses (blogging-related or organizational)
I’m sure I’ve left plenty out (breakfasts, small chores, etc.), but that’s my basic weekday. I’m sure yours is similar in busy-ness even if the actual tasks aren’t the same.
Let me know what you discover after taking a look at your list. Are you really not accomplishing much, or are you doing more than you thought?