Who controls your to-do list?


This is the 3rd post and assignment in our 8 week Journey to Balance. You can find all previous assignments on the Journey Page. I encourage you to do them all, if possible. This journey will require you to think about your life for 20-30 minutes for each assignment, but will help you to gain that much needed balance in your life!

We have worked through and discovered what our values are and what our priorities are. These two are similar, yet a little different, and its important to look at both. Now that you know what are the most important things in your life, let’s see how this lines up with your everyday life.

Why are we doing what we are doing?

Most women use some type of to-do list. Whether it is scribbled on an envelope, kept neatly in a day planner, entered into a smart phone, or maybe even an online program, we usually are trying to keep up with our schedules and the things we have to do. We will discuss more of the *how* of this during the productivity week, but for now, I just want you to take an inventory of your to-do and calendar.

The activities and appointments that are there, did YOU make the choice to add them? Or did they just kinda end up there? For instance, you found a really cool karate class for your kids. So you signed them up for it. Now you are there 3 days a week or more and it feels like it is running your life. Was having your kids in an organized program on your priority list? Or were nice, calm family evenings on your list?

On the other hand, were you looking for an activity that your kids could do together? Were you also looking for a way to teach them respect and build their self-esteem? An activity that they could bond over? If this is the case, then the busyness of the karate classes may be worth the effort as it is helping achieve some of your priorities for your family.

From my own past, each year my 3 younger kids, who were all 2 years apart, looked forward to playing softball with a co-ed league at a local church. It was a low-key league, with one practice and one game a week. We enjoyed it as it was an activity they could all 3 do, if gave us something to do as a family, and 9 out of the 10 years they played at least 2 were always on the same team because of their ages. I miss it now that they are grown!

Sure, I’ll do it!

Are there responsibilities you have taken on without really thinking about it before consenting? This may sound selfish, but until you gain some balance in your life, let NO be your default answer. Or at the very least, say “I’ll have to check my calendar and get back with you”.

As someone who has come through raising of a house of children (my 4 kids range from almost 18 to 29), I can tell you that life works a whole lot better if you don’t let them expect to do everything that comes their way. Determine what things line up with your priorities and those you have for your kids, and learn to tell them NO as well.

As far as your to-do list goes, are you allowing people to put things on your plate that you don’t really want to be doing? Have you become the go-to person for all those around you? While it is nice to feel needed, you need to start considering things that you are asked or *given* to do and see if they are important to YOU. Or if they line up with your priorities. Don’t become everyone’s dumping ground. There are certain personality types that are prone to do this because they like being helpful, but eventually it can backfire on you as you become more and more overwhelmed. Learn to say “I am sorry, that is not something I am going to be able to get to”.

But I have to do my job

I know that in our places of employment we don’t have as much say-so over what we can or cannot do, or what we’d *like* to do, but again thing about your job description, the priorities of your work, etc. If you have a boss who hands you something to do, ask them to prioritize it for you, does it take precedence over what you are currently working on? Also, make sure you are not just doing busy work that won’t help achieve the objectives of your job. (I was bad about this one!) This doesn’t mean you should be lazy, or shirk responsibility, but just do your job.

Put the *shoulds* in their place!

Also, you may have things in your life because you just fell like you *should* be doing them. Ask yourself “WHY?” Why should you be doing them? If the answer is in line with your values and priorities, then maybe they need to be on your to-do list or calendar. If it is not, then you need to remove them immediately, or put steps in place to remove it from your life. DO WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU.

The assignment

The first major step in gaining balance in your life will be to gain control of your calendar and your to-do list. Start making conscious decisions about what you add (or subtract) from your life. I have created a worksheet to help you go through this process. Download Who is controlling your To-Do List

Clearing out and fine tuning your activities and responsibilities are an important milestone on your Journey to Balance!

Leave a comment below with what you have discovered so far, or you can post them over at Facebook or on Twitter!

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16 comments to Who controls your to-do list?

  • Great advice for staying calm and centered.
    I’ve just recently learned how to make to-do lists, but I’m not so organized as to do one every day. Just when something important is happening, like a trip or a dinner engagement.

    bernicewood Reply:

    A to-do list can help us be organized, but more importantly is what are we adding to that list. Things we really want or have to do?
    Thanks for coming by!

  • I never had this problem as I only had one child and he was not into school sports or things like that. He was into roller skating and I did drive him and his friends back and forth since all the other parents didn’t seem to be home when I brought their kids home. But it wasn’t every single week. I have almost always had the freedom to do what I want when I want and not have someone else telling me to do something or we have to go here. And now at this time in my life, it’s even more so.
    katlupe recently posted..Winter Time At Peaceful Forest HomesteadMy Profile

    bernicewood Reply:

    It is nice katlupe, that you did not have so much running around when your son was young. And that you are at a point in your life where you know what you want and don’t let others impose their demands on you. I am working towards that point, one day!

  • I have learned to say no… for the most part. My only problem is that I don’t know what mood will prevail for things that normally would be NO BIG DEAL… LOL!
    Holly @ Diamond Potential recently posted..AWESOME- Perpetuum Jazzile – AFRICAMy Profile

    bernicewood Reply:

    I deal with mood issues as well, more from an anxiety standpoint, so I am not sure how that will hit me as well, so I understand a little bit of what you mean! And saying NO is great!
    Thanks for coming by!

  • Great post! I remember, it was about 5 years ago and all 3 of my children joined a homeschool bowling league. It was the first time all 3 of my children were engaged in an extracurricular activity that was at the same location at the same time every week. That sure made scheduling nice, but it doesn’t always happen like that.

    I agree with you in that making conscious decisions is so important in creating balance in your life!

    bernicewood Reply:

    I remember when homeschooling, there were SO many great opportunities for us (whoever said homeschoolers don’t get socialization is crazy! We had trouble finding time to do school, lol!) But, yes, you have to be intentional!
    Thanks for dropping by!

  • Thanks for posting, I’ll definitely be subscribing to your blog.

  • Great post, I love my to do list but I all so love living a balanced life. When my life gets out of balance I can feel it.
    wendy mickle recently posted..Focus Wheel with Abraham HicksMy Profile

    bernicewood Reply:

    Oh, yes, an out of balance life definitely feels *off*. If we get good at being able to recognize that feeling, we can make adjustments midstream.
    Thanks for commenting!

  • there is no doubt in my mind, my 9 month old SON controls my list. He decides what gets done and what has to wait :)
    mamabear recently posted..Ta-daaa!My Profile

    bernicewood Reply:

    You are definitely in one of those seasons I was speaking of. Obviously little ones get priority, but make sure you take some time for yourself, and don’t take on more other responsibilites than you can handle!

  • Where did you get the or what plugin is the like share and tweet buttons on your posts?
    Alyssa recently posted..FaithLeaps for July 7th with Our Guest, Christian Mom Entrepreneur Scarlett Von GuntenMy Profile

  • Nix

    I’m pretty well off on the deciding what needs to go and what can stay on my daily square (planner). I’m at the “Might-upset-others-you’re-no-longer-doing-for” group. While I have no problems telling them “Too Bad” after “No”, I’d love advice on how to get the ‘nice but takes a while to grasp’ ones to respect MY choices not to cater to their whims while using the “Too Bad” method for the super inconsiderate.

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