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Doing what matters

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I am a Little Red Hen who takes a can-do attitude toward getting EVERYTHING done.

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Often, EVERYTHING is way too much. Naturally, I can also become a Chicken Little who thinks the sky is falling because a pea fell on her head. Anxiety drives this Chicken Little delusion. Because I unreasonably fear getting nothing done on my Chicken Little to-do list, I have developed a mature Little Red Hen strategy for listing tasks.

Google now provides a handy to-do list that opens up on the side of my Gmail. There must be many other list applications and paper works too. Here is my thinking on list making and reduction of anxiety.

Planning in layers

I have another list for planning long-term projects. That is a second layer list. My daily practice is to avoid the big project planning and to throw together a random list first. Later, I may look at that list and rethink the bigger plans and problems.

Why delay?

The Chicken Little in me would fear that I will forget something on my list. As the list is typically long, I would try to do everything immediately. Deadlines are one tactic for getting things done. I set a date for doing the job and put it on my calendar, then I cross off the item from my hand Gmail list. However, deadlines and organized projects follow after this first layer task list. Actually, the first layer random list that I am describing here helps me to delay tasks until later. The problem is not just about remembering. It is about priority. So, delaying is a way to allow myself time to think.

What matters?

Actually, not everything matters. For example, there are tasks for big projects that I am thinking about in the wrong way. In that case, sometimes they will never get done. Later I cross them off. Crossing off is essential to list making because not everything matters on hindsight.

For example, little items that matter to some a special person can also be essential. So, I want to have a way to consider my values. Doing is not only about getting more done.

Lists can be eliminated by the facts of life. The other day, I got the mistaken information that my husband had a heart attack. Suddenly most of my lists and projects were thrown to the winds and being there and fully present was all that mattered.

Random first layer list

There is a free app for your iPhone. That way, you can access your grocery list too. Absolutely anything can go on the first layer list. So, instead of jumping to help a friend, when I am at the height activity getting ready to do whatever, or when I am emotionally filled to the top with whatever possesses me at the moment, I shift other tasks to my list. Put it on the list and do it later.

Ellen MadonoComment