This is the part of the blog where I make lists. Fancy.
If there was an olympic category for list making, I would win gold. The. Gold. I can make a list like nobody’s business. Color coded, categorized in order of importance, tabbed, boxed, paper clipped, you name it. Problem is, it often ends up harder to complete my tasks than it does to list them.
Don’t you judge. You’d be tired, too if after all that color coding.
I think it’s difficult for two reasons:
- I make really long lists. In my head it seems totally reasonable that I could go to the gym, work a full day, cook a turkey (why not?), practice my piano-in’ skills, complete 7 household projects, plan a Christmas program, run all of the errands, clean all of the things and still have time for some leisurely creative writing but in reality…I’m overwhelmed just thinking about it and I think I need a nap.
- I’m self-employed. I work for myself so I’m my own boss (YAY!) but really that just means I’m the only person who does any work in my entire organization (boooo). The thing is, no one is really checking up on this mess. If I make plans but don’t do anything but the bare minimum, nobody knows. If I don’t work till 3 so I sleep till 2, no one knows. If I go a week straight doing nothing but teaching lessons and eating Pop-tarts no one is going to care as long as those hours I spend working are completed. When there’s no one checking in, sometimes it’s difficult to get the tasks done.
Based on the research of my primary employee (ahem, my own bad self), here’s what I think I’ve figured out.
- I need shorter lists that I can actually accomplish. There’s really no reason to complete everything on Monday when I have a 5 day work week to work with. I’m learning to spread out the kind of task-y tasks that no one would enjoy over several days…interspersed with treats to make it seem worthwhile. (duh)
(Side note: The balance of work and reward sometimes makes self employment a lot like puppy training. Or raising children. Keeping in mind that your primary employee is really just a little creature that doesn’t want to work a big kid job helps when coming up with incentives. Send all those emails and make those really uncomfortable phone calls? Cookie! Run all those errands on the hottest day of the year and pick up all of those books because you literally canNOT listen to timmy play that same old song for one more week? Iced coffee on your way to lessons! Task=treat. It brings balance to the universe.)
(also I don’t actually think that puppies are the same as children. Similar, maybe…but not the same.)
Right, back to it.
2. I have to include things that I actually WANT to do or I will lay down on the couch and watch “
Essex” important food documentaries all day long to avoid the endless work I try and subject myself to.
My week becomes a delicate balancing act of immediate responsibilities and long term creative responsibility. The jobs I do that bring in actual income have the potential to suck my brain dry because, after all, they are the most immediately important. However, I’m also a creative person which means I have a responsibility to myself to be artin’ it up on a regular basis-writing, planning, performing, whatever. Spending time on what keeps me creative and alive and not only on what keeps me fed. Balance.
All that to say, I’m going to try making some better lists here. Right now I’m working on an end of the summer to-do list of all the things I’d like to make time for or complete before the summer ends and everything goes back to normal..until then, happy listing!
For more reading on the care and keeping of lists, check this post. Sometimes I ramble about things over there, also.