Sanity-Saving To Do List

I am not a creature of habit, as much as I’d like to be sometimes. The one exception to this is a daily list…my sanity-saving to do list.I know some people find them a bit too bossy. They feel like they can manage all the ideas running through their head just fine without a piece of paper taunting them and telling them what to do.I cannot. I need that paper. I need that taunting.

I like writing down everything I need to take care of, even if I know it won’t get done that day. Just the action of writing it down makes me feel like I’m at least addressing whatever the task is. I get strange pleasure from crossing things off of my to-do list (even if I add things I’ve already done just to see them crossed off on my list. C’mon…I know some of you must do that too.) 
I came up with s this idea several years back during my first year of teaching as a means of survival. I had never been a list-maker prior to this. I found myself getting so overwhelmed and dropping the ball at work. When I started making a list, it was so long that each day I felt like a failure for not even making a dent in it. I really struggled with prioritizing tasks. Hence, the daily, weekly, monthly lists were born.

I realize this is not a novel idea. However, the daily sticky note comes off of the clipboard each night while the weekly and monthly “stick around” a bit longer”. This system has literally SAVED me at work. I use one at home as well. (I’ve also made a few as gifts for friends who are planning a wedding. It’s perfect for brides who need to prioritize things running through their heads.)

1. Trace clip board onto scrap paper. Cut a slightly smaller version of what you traced and then cut into the top accounting for the metal clip.
2. I used a permanent adhesive tape roller to attach the paper to the clip board, but you could use Mod Podge or even a heavy duty glue stick.
3. Use assorted sizes of stick notes (about 15 per stack) to create your sections.
4. Use stickers, stamps, or a good ole’ Sharpie to add labels above the stick note sections that work for you.

The “Remember” stick note is a big one for me. I try to put a quote, verse, or saying that I know I need to be focusing on at the time. This one will probably be there for a while…

“Comparison is the thief of joy”.
Man, I need to hear this hourly. Thoughts that regularly run through my head go something like this…
Why am I having such a difficult pregnancy when so-and-so isn’t?  
I wish I had started a business when she did. Why can’t I be doing what I really love?
Why can’t I have a family support system like theirs? 
I wish I could just be a stay-at-home mom. 
I wish my house was furnished like that one.
Why did I gain 60 pounds being pregnant instead of 35 like everyone else?!
It’s a treadmill of comparison and self-pity. I need to be thinking things like…
I am so blessed to be growing a life inside me, regardless of how crappy I feel or look.
I have the best friends anyone could even dream of. They are priceless.
I am so glad we have a home to bring our baby.
My husband is the love of my life and is aging like a fine wine…in every way. (And when he reads this, he will grin and chuckle and beam with pride in the most adorable way a grown man can.)
Anyone else struggle with their inner dialogue?
This is something I’d like to change…If only it was as simple as adding it to a to-do list. “Change thought patterns. Now.”I know this is something I will wrestle with for a long time. Hopefully I’ll look back in a few years and see that my little spurts of motivation over the course of time actually made at least a slight impact.

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21 Comments Filed Under: DIY, Ramblings

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  • Comments

    1. says

      Oh sweety, lets start by saying life need not have so many questions or regrets. Make today worth remembering and just enjoy the moments. Make things count for yourself and slowly work toward your dreams. When you are in a positive headspace – people gravitate to you and opportunities etc happen. As for pregnancy – been there twice!!!! And yes it was tough but it’s short term and you will have the best little angel in the world !!! Sorry for such a long comment but I think you needed a puck me up xxx

    2. says

      As an artist I struggle with my inner dialogue all the time, and have found myself making comparisons to others. In recent months I have made conscious decisions to accept myself for what I am and count my hundreds of blessings. One mantra I return to often, and is hanging in my studio is “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” Also, LOVE your clipboard and yes, I often write things on my list just so I can cross them off.

    3. says

      I always thought that I never did anything great enough to have made a mark on this world. But, to my surprise, I had, my nieces and nephew told me how much I had left an impression for the better on them when we were together. And a new friend had told me that I was her lifesaver. Who knew? I keep doing what I do, knowing that someone notices that I am here. So, keep doing what you do, and someday someone will tell you that you saved them in someway.

    4. says

      that’s so cute and seemingly helpful.

      funny thing…i was thinking of that exact same quote this morning! i was comparing vacations…sounds silly but i’m always wanting to go on a bigger better trip and easily get jealous of other people’s vacations.

    5. says

      I am writing that quote down RIGHT NOW. :) It is absolutely what I need to hear–and often. How easy it is to get wrapped up in what we aren’ instead of what we are! I love this clipboard idea. And it is cute–and added bonus. :)

    6. says

      One of my favorite blog posts EVER. You are fantastic. My mantras (since going back to work) have been “One day at a time,” and “CHOCOLATE.” Ha. Sometimes it’s just about survival :-) Only a few more weeks, my friend!

    7. says

      I have felt the same way lately! So encouraging that another Mama to be has been struggling with “the grass is greener” Thanks for this post! 😉

      • says

        Thanks for letting me know, Candace! I keep hearing things like, “Oh, a difficult pregnancy means an easy delivery” or “Well, she’s probably going to be an easy baby”. I’m trying not to buy into that…How can anyone predict such things?? Besides, I don’t want to be disappointed and comparing in the next phase either!

    8. Chantel says

      I bought a beautiful book that I strongly recommend you read as a new Momma that will make you feel LOADS better and bring peace to your mindset (I’m a new Mom with a 4 month old so life with baby is SO new!. It’s called Momma Zen. You definitely do not need to be Buddhist to read it…it has awesome reviews on Amazon if you want extra reassurance and has helped quiet my mind.

      We are always looking for the next moment to be better, always looking ahead for that better time when in reality all we have is now. Pregnany can be tough and is different for every individual. Remember that it’s only 9 months and you’re almost at the finish line! Congrats!

      • says

        Thanks for the rec, Chantel. I am placing an order on Amazon today for a book on breastfeeding, so I might just add that to my cart as well! Congrats to you on your new baby and surviving the first 4 months:)

        “In reality all we have is now”. Such a true statement. Living “in the now” is something I tried to practice a couple years ago and have really gotten out of the habit. (Looking forward to the end of pregnancy can do that to ya’!) This was a good reminder.

      • Chantel says

        Awe, you’re welcome! I wish I had found out about it earlier (namely those first two *very challenging* months) but finished it tonight and found it so reassuring.

        Yes, easier said than done. I think we’re all guilty of that little voice in our head that comes up with all sorts of unnecessary chatter. It’s hard to do but sometimes you have to turn down the volume and just BE.

    9. says

      Totally can relate with the pregnancy comparisons. I gained 50 and 55 lbs with each pregnancy. I actually out-grew my maternity clothes! (didn’t even know that could happen) Most of my friends had smaller weight gain, too. I realized that my body is different and my babies needed the extra cushioning for some reason that theirs didn’t. My body is mostly back to normal and my babies are happy and healthy. Different strokes for different folks. :)

    10. says

      #1 – Love this idea, inspired to make my own, i so need this to keep me focused
      #2 – Your honesty moves me.
      #3 – I struggle too, with comparing what I can do, or achieve, or manage by what others accomplish.

      Favorite quote from Karen Walrand at ALT was this:
      “stop comparing my insides to their outsides”

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