Living with family for the first time in years (other than my husband and kids, of course), I keep finding various versions of to-do lists all over the house. It makes me smile to read the lists of my parents and sisters; they remind me of my own lists that they no doubt find everywhere. I could blame it on having toddlers, but the truth is, I’ve always had to make “to-do” lists to remember even the simplest things – things I know have to get done that just somehow slip my mind.
I’m not great at keeping the lists around and methodically checking them off either, but somehow it’s just the writing down of the necessary tasks that focuses my attention on them and cements them in my mind.
Lately, with my to-do lists seeming to contain a constant line-up of form-filling (still in the house-buying process!) and errand running/appointment keeping (still a mom of toddlers!), I realized I needed to inject my lists with something, well, a little more fun. I’m pretty lucky to be buying a house, and being a mom to my two kids is pretty amazing, but sometimes a list of chores really seems like just that – nothing but chores. So I’ve decided to perk up my responsibilities with some additional items, ones that remind me simply to stop and enjoy life.
Have Fun? Check.
For instance, in my most recent list, I added “time with friends” right along with “scan and send mortgage form” and “file nails” (I honestly do need to write down the simplest things). It should be a priority to spend time with people I love, and if I rarely get to see them due to our busy schedules, reminding myself that I need to make time to do just that is something that earns its place on my list of important tasks that need doing.
I don’t want to turn something fun and special into another chore, though, so I keep it flexible. “Time with friends” could be involve getting coffee together or having dinner – or even remembering to pick up the phone and check in with someone I’ve gone too long without talking to. Similarly, “date night” doesn’t have to mean finding a sitter and going out on the town if you know that’s not in the cards this week, but it should mean prioritizing some special time alone with your partner, even if it’s just staying up a little later than usual to snuggle on the couch and connect after a long day. “Relaxing” could be anything from a massage at a spa to ensuring you carve out fifteen minutes to read an extra chapter in your new book.
Make Your Own Fun To-Do List
The point is that most of us have a running list, even if it’s just in our heads, of things we have to do, and these always seem to take precedence over the fun things we want to do. This makes sense, of course – there would be some pretty lousy consequences if we always did what we wanted instead of what we needed to do, but sometimes, we also need reminding that what we want is important too.
And when we are fulfilling that desire to have fun, to relax or connect, we start living in a more positive space, where it’s easier to see the rest of our “to-dos” in a different light, one in which the things we want and the things we need are a lot more similar than we think.