Tag Archives: to-do lists

#31Days: Day Twenty Seven (or, additional voices in my head)

Some days I am very satisfied with myself – these days when I mark up a to-do list with highlighted lines and check marks. These lists are not limited to my cubicle at work, I make them for cleaning or cooking, for personal goals and packing. I mark up mental lists, post-its and lined notebooks.

Today I had a thought – what if I didn’t make these lists?

Maybe I shouldn’t. Maybe I don’t need to list and structure my life. Maybe these lists – this pressure – is one of the sources of my deeply rooted guilt I can not shake when even the most minor of infractions happen.

Tell me – who feels guilty when they live alone and leave toothpaste in the sink? Who can’t shake the feeling of irreversible wrong doing if they let a call go to voice mail? Who feels a consistent need to confess a minor fender bender to any and all coworkers, as if not telling them of my act would somehow be worse? Who believes their dog is sad when he isn’t taken for a 15 minute walk? Who goes to bed at night worried because there is one load of laundry left in the dryer? Who wakes up mentally calculating the hours in the day and wondering when they can fit in work out and a light dusting of furniture because they have to do it today, this Monday, right now? 

I can’t believe I am the only one with this insane amount of self-pressure. Some blame the internet or TV – pinterest is the root of all self-doubt, right? But I think this pressure actually comes from the tiny voice saying you have to figure it out as soon as you can, and you better figure it out correctly.

Maybe I should stop telling you all how many voices are in my head, I’m starting to look a little crazy. At any rate, these voices are doubling down on my sheer exhaustion at the pace of October this year. I’ve worked a lot, traveled a lot, moved a lot, thought a lot. Everything is just a bit much and I have a deep, deep desire to rest.

Hoping this week shows a balance. Only 4 more days of 6 a.m., if you can believe it.



This is the 27th post in a series, 31 Days of 6 a.m. To see a list of all posts from the month of October, click here. If you would like to have these posts delivered directly to you, enter your email address in the form located at the top right of the home page.



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day sixteen: patience with yourself

Have you ever heard the saying “well, there’s two types of people in the world…those who [blank] and those who [blank].” Sometimes the list will be longer – “there are 8 types of women…” or “three office co-workers you definitely have.” So, um yeah right.

There’s a millions of people in the world, and we’re all just one single kind: humans. Or, human beans if you want to get cute.

We’re all just humans who put a lot of pressure on ourselves and others to be the kind of human we think is correct. Now, what varies is the kind of human we’re striving to be, but at the end of the day we all think we should have done more. Whatever “more” is! Cleaned more, laughed more, answered more emails, ran more miles, etc. And the crazy thing is, we put pressure on others as well! She should have called me more, he should have laughed more, etc. etc.

It’s a hard balance, this life. On one hand, yes, you should try to live your best life. On the other hand, chill out you literally cannot do it all. So how do you live with this conundrum?

Here’s how I work it:

1. I work well with lists, tangible handwritten kind you can cross off or circle or highlight. I write down a list everyday at work (for time keeping purposes), I write down a grocery list/meal plan every week at home, I write down chores for every week, and I include scheduled workouts. Here’s a secret: I never cross 100% of the items off – not even at work. There is always at least one item moving to the next day – and I am okay with it. I even do it on purpose sometimes!

2. I make goals in big terms. If I’m trying to make it to the gym more often I’ll say “I’m going to perform an activity involving some sort of exercise at least 15 times this month.”  And then I do 15 days worth of activity. Because a big overarching goal is way more doable than “I’m going to wake up at 6 a.m. four days a week for the rest of my life and jog six miles, even though I have a life and a desire to sleep.” Also get real, people. Seriously! Yes, you should be aspirational but don’t set yourself up to fail.

3. I cut myself a break. Truly listen to yourself! If you were planning on going to workout but you are bone tired, which activity will serve you better: a nap or a workout? Decide for yourself and then don’t feel bad about it. Just do what works for you that day, and go with what works the next day even if it is different.

Some items to remember, that I consider universal truths and can be backed by scripture, smart people and history:

  • you do not have to be perfect to be loved
  • you do not have to say yes to every opportunity
  • you do not need to fear the unknown (including “wasted” time)
  • you do not always need to be right
  • you do not need to be your biggest critic

The last one is the biggie, and how this all ties into patience. Be patient with yourself. Don’t overlook the fact you are the only person who truly has to live with you forever. So don’t make YOU be the hater of YOU! There’s enough people in the world who will judge you, you just love you. And love others while you’re at it just for fun. See what happens. : )

See you tomorrow.


Today is day sixteen in my 31 days of patience series. For all posts in this series, click here.

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