Journal, Mama

A Ta-Dah! List

I don’t remember where I first heard this idea, and a quick Google search reveals that it is nothing new, but this is something I have decided to start after another day off where I spent the day feeling restless and annoyed that I hadn’t Got Things Done. The idea of a Ta-Dah! List is that instead of (or as well as) starting the day with a to-do list, you write a list at the end of the day of all the things you have done – ta-dah! It is all too easy for me (and maybe for you too?) to feel guilty about the things I don’t achieve – it is helpful to reflect on what I do achieve instead.

This doesn’t mean that I will never write another to-do list, I will be doing this each Wednesday to give myself a boost. This week, it looks like this:

  • I tried to get Austin to participate in his Zoom lesson
  • I helped him paint and play with this Kinetic sand
  • I made a reward / daily routine chart with him
  • I went for a walk with the family
  • I helped Austin play Rocket League on Xbox
  • I took Austin out the front of the house so he could ride his bike (and balance bike and go-cart)
  • I wrote two blog posts
  • I made two curry dishes for dinner
  • I wrote in my journal
  • I hung out the washing
  • I washed up
  • and so on and so on… (this is why it is better to write it on the day – I can’t remember all the things I did even though it is only two days ago!)

My uneasiness is not, though, just tension between being productive and having relaxing. It is something deeper. I can find myself in those moments where I am watching Austin play Rocket League or watching him tip Kinetic Sand all over the table where instead of simply enjoying the time I am spending with him, I am on edge, thinking about all the other things I could or should or want to be doing. While I was writing this post, a quotation from the book The Writing Life by Annie Dillard came to mind:

‘How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.’

In exploring this quotation further, I found this Brain Picker article which so eloquently sums up my disquietude: ‘We have forgotten how to be truly present in the gladdening mystery of life’. Of course, she is writing about productivity in terms of being a writer, and that is also of interest to me. More generally, I am struggling with feeling present and enjoying the life I am living now; while I am spending so much time feeling anxious about what I could be doing or should be doing, I know that if I am not careful, I will blink, and the kiddos will be all grown up. Perhaps focusing on the small wins will help me feel more present to notice all the wonderful moments that are happening right now and I will also feel more productive by recognising how I spend my days.

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