A Simple Look at a Not-So-Simple Life

Back to the List



I am in information/task/idea overload these days. For 29 days now, I’ve been constantly running through writing topics in my head. I’ve made new blog friends with new blogs for me to read. My Google Reader seems to stay on overflow. I have no fewer than five books somewhere in the process of being read. I’m in the process of planning a summer schedule, a summer sermon series, and a summer writing project.I have three service calls coming up at the house this week: air conditioner, ice maker, and plumber. My children will begin summer break in three days. Three days!!

Last night I finally did what I should have done long ago. I sat down and made a To Do List. With this much going on, something is bound to fall through the cracks. Trying to keep a running list in my head is exhausting – probably because it keeps me awake at night. My sister was a master list keeper. Coincidentally (or not), she was always much more organized than I am.

Shortly after I made my list, a Twitter friend posted a link to a great article about the two lists you should look at everyday.

List 1: Your Focus List (the road ahead)

What are you trying to achieve? What makes you happy? What’s important to you? Design your time around those things. Because time is your one limited resource and no matter how hard you try you can’t work 25/8.

List 2: Your Ignore List (the distractions)

To succeed in using your time wisely, you have to ask the equally important but often avoided complementary questions: what are you willing not to achieve? What doesn’t make you happy? What’s not important to you? What gets in the way?

This is exactly what I needed to help get me back on track. There are so many things I want to do that I end up chasing my tail in circles instead of really accomplishing anything. I need to make these two lists. What are the most important things to me? What can I ignore that is currently keeping me from those important things?

I haven’t made my Focus List or my Ignore List yet. But they are on my To Do List, so hopefully soon. . .

to do


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6 thoughts on “Back to the List

  1. Oh, I like this idea – a to-do list and an ignore-list! I too am trying to get back on track….told my parish admin that if I am not in first thing in the morning it means I am seeking balance – prayer, reading and reflection and EXERCISE! Then, in to the office! Balance is on my to-do list!

  2. What if making a list is on your Ignore list? I want to be spontaneous and lists. Oh, wait. We are talking about real life, aren’t we? OK so…my list is write, read, eat, sleep, write, beach, write, grandkids/kids, write, read,lunch with Jan, write, read,beach, write, sleep. Ok Done! 🙂

  3. Jan, I love this! I am going to work on my two lists. I constantly have a To Do List, but have never had an Ignore List. Sounds like it would help.

  4. Susan on said:

    To Do: Love your children

    To Do: Forget the rest of the crap of life because tomorrow it won’t really matter at all.

    To Do: Love Jan first and formost as the beautiful child of God that she is.

    To Do: Tell the rest of the world to take a number while you take a breath. They can be rescheduled, your life cannot.

    Life is not a To Do List, it is a To Live List.

    To Do: Love your old buds who love you and continue to love those who are a new blessing to you life. Say a prayer and release all obligations to the Universe.

    Love you so much, Sis.

    Go the beach with the kids, pick up a shell, take some trash to the dumpster and tell them the fish and turtles appreciate it. Give them hugs; build a sand castle and eat chocolate chip cookies.

    We only have today.

    Love today for what it brings into your life. If tomorrow comes, it will take care of itself.

    All my loving heart to you in this moment of this day.


  5. Susan on said:

    BTW, the TO IGNORE list is all the people who are trying to get on your To Do list. Smiles, giggles, and love to you, Anna, Mia, Gus, and the critters in your life. They are the main ones who should not be ignored because they are the choices you made to make your life smile.

  6. This reminds me of a blog post I read recently… the author is a pilot and was talking about going through his pre-flight checklist, and how he does the same thing, every single time. His point was how he treats the first hour of every day as his “pre-flight” for the next 23. He says that quiet hour in the morning is the only hour we have absolute control of. It’s a time when we can decide what we will do, and what we won’t do. I thought it was a great way to think about how to bring more of my “yes list” into my life.

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