I might be an “adult” (haha), but I still turn to my mom for most of my problem-solving. When things get rough, I know I can vent to her and get an outside perspective on the situation. One of the best parts of getting insight from my mom is that she does a lot of reading and watching and soul-searching on life, love, spirituality, goals, dreams…you name it. If she doesn’t have a piece of her own advice, I will likely get a reference to where I can find some enlightenment.
Recently, I was telling her about some issues I was having with motivation and a positive perspective on some otherwise crappy days. She recommended I create a “To-Fix List”, which would be the spine of whatever my to-do list actually is.
The point of this list is to identify what is causing the most stress and holding me back in terms of to-do lists. Here’s an example of my ideal daily to-do list:
- Eat breakfast every morning (even if it’s something that needs to be made quickly and eaten on-the-go)
- Exercise in some form – walking outside or on the treadmill, popping in a dance DVD, or going to Planet Fitness
- Set aside 30-60 minutes to unplug from devices/TV and read
- Write (a blog post, a journal entry, ramblings that no one will ever see)
- Work on a small creative project (friendship bracelets, weaving, etc.) you’ve been wanting to do
It’s all pretty basic. I would love for my days to have an easy-to-follow layout so that I can be productive and creative. Weekends can be flexible and are often for being lazy anyway. But when it comes to the weekday grind, I find that there’s so much I want to do that never gets done. There are also the usual responsibilities (cooking, dishes, laundry, etc.) that need to be taken into account. Still, I know I have time that can be used wisely because, more often than not, I spend a lot of time on the couch streaming episodes of Friends when things could be gettin’ done. Now that I’ve identified the things I want to do, this would be my “to-fix” list so that I can find out what’s keeping me back:
- There are billion things I should fix for this task. For example, I hit the snooze a lot in the morning. This is a problem on its own, but I also happen to set my alarm for a later time than I should and it results in lots of unhelpful, disturbed sleep that cuts into useful time. In this case -
a) I should set my alarm for an earlier time right off the bat so that, even if I hit the snooze, I’m
not cutting into time I actually need to prepare for the day
b) I should go to bed earlier because I do, in fact, keep myself up late doing silly things
(games on my iPhone or reading that could be done earlier) even when I am actually
tired enough to fall asleep
c) I should set my outfit out each evening. Sometimes I plan this stuff as I’m falling asleep. It’s
okay but then I can’t find what I need in the morning or it’s dirty or wrinkled and I end up
feeling sloppy or, again, taking away time I could be using for important things
- Exercise is necessary for all of us. While it would be great to lose a few pounds, I’m more concerned about not losing my breath just from walking up or down the stairs. I get into grooves, but then I think that it’s cutting into other time (that I would be doing nothing, so that’s important to remember) or I slack off a couple of days in a row and I’m done. Instead of hopping right into sweats out of work, I could take the time to put on something comfortable to work out in and taking a walk around the neighborhood, using the treadmill, etc. instead. Even just a little bit of exercise is better than none and once I start, I don’t give up early unless I’m not feeling well. Since I shower in the evenings anyway, this won’t affect anything I do. I can still shower all the gross off me and prepare for the next day…two birds, one stone.
- Setting aside this amount of time to read is actually really important for the way I sleep. I usually read my books at lunchtime and at bedtime. On the weekends, it’s really only bedtime. If I go to bed late, then I still feel compelled to stay up and read at least a chapter. Sometimes, I can barely keep my eyes open. Other times, when I’m reading something excellent, I don’t want to put the book down and it keeps me up super late. Reading at bedtime is still something I look forward to, so what I should fix is the time I actually decide to go to bed. If I head to bed a bit earlier, I’ll have ample time to read AND I’ll most likely fall asleep earlier than usual.
- Writing is one of the hardest things to get myself to do and that really sucks because I LOVE IT. It’s why I’ve always kept a blog, why I love using Project Life scrapbooking, why I journal. I often think in little posts and essay pieces. I think this goes for a lot of writers, but I just think everything I put down is crap. Still, it’s what I want to say. So I should just do it. Even if it doesn’t get posted anywhere today, tomorrow, or ever or it’s just something I can look back on in the future, it feels better to get the words off my chest. This comes to mind.
- The great thing about streaming Netflix is that it just keeps going and going and going, only occasionally asking if you’re still watching (the answer is always yes). Popping that on is the easiest thing you do all day (deciding what to watch can sometimes be the hardest). I often put on shows I’ve seen a billion times or that don’t require a lot of attention to enjoy. Instead of settling in with a show, my Slanket, and my phone, I could leave the phone upstairs and set up my loom for some mindless weaving, play with embroidery floss to make friendship bracelets that I will never wear but love making, paint my nails (an art of completely lost touch with), or play with watercolors. I can multi-task these things if I just let myself.
My “To-Fix” list is super long. One step at a time, I suppose. I’d love to know, how do you get stuff done? Do you struggle with motivation? What helps?
I hope my mom’s “To-Fix” list suggestion can help pinpoint whatever is holding you back!