I know many of you are like me and each morning compile and impossible to do list and then beat yourself up when you don’t complete every task on the list. I’ve discovered there are two problems with these lists:
- They are totally unrealistic. You will never get done everything you want. Unexpected tasks will arise during the day. Scheduled tasks will take longer than you think they will. A child will get sick or have an afternoon filled with tantrums instead of naps or a friend will have a crisis and need your help—in other words life will happen.
- They never include some of the most important things. Time spent talking with friends or colleagues that rejuvenates your mind and spirit. Time spent playing with your children or connecting with a parent, sibling, or partner. Time for spiritual activities such as prayer or meditation or journaling.
If we accomplish everything on our lists, but do it at the expense of family, friends, health, and happiness, then what sort of goal did we achieve? As Vishen Lakhiani tries to remind all of us, we shouldn’t confuse means goals with ends goals. If what we are doing during our days isn’t helping us lead better lives, then we need to reevaluate our priorities.
I want to help break this cultural obsession with work and productivity by writing a list of accomplishments each week instead of a list of impossible tasks to be done. I want that list to include not only work tasks and home tasks like laundry but also time spent with family, friends, and myself.
I want my list to affirm my humanity and not my productivity level.
So here it goes. This week I
- started this blog. That seems pretty important.
- read books to Vincent whenever he asked, no matter what I was doing at the time.
- didn’t spend all weekend doing laundry.
- finished a work project that had been on my agenda for a full year. You read that right—a full year.
- remembered to water the garden.
- remembered my grandmother Lucia while making her Easter pies and spaghetti sauce for Sunday dinner.