Friday, September 6, 2013

Wildflowers and To-Do Lists

Today, I'm on a blog binge. For the first time in months, I dropped the blogger ball, neglecting to post on Wednesday as I typically do. As it turns out, Monday's post about abundant busyness was a harbinger of the week to come.

I won't drag you through the (minor, but plentiful) details of the week that put my priorities and patience to the test, because I suspect they sound a lot like everyone else's. Let's just say it's a good thing my plan for the week was written in pencil.

And so today I find myself catching up -- first, in the blogosphere (here, then at WITF) and then in matters closer to home. I'm trying to push aside the perpetual "behind schedule" feeling that only makes it harder to achieve any sort of balance and instead, I'm chipping away at the to-do list -- which is so obvious it doesn't even need to be written down.

This is also one of those days when I feel the need to keep an "I did it!" list -- a list that keeps track of all the tiny but necessary tasks that fill a day -- tasks that seem insignificant one by one, but that form a looming mountain when piled up side by side, and one on top of the other.

We all have weeks like this -- months, even -- the ones that lend credence to Lewis Carroll's declaration that "the hurrier I go, the behinder I get." So, although it seems counterintuitive to slow down and take one thing at a time, I find I actually get much more done that way.

This is especially true when it comes to writing. Whether it's a blog or a novel, writing cannot be rushed. Sure, we can slap something down on the page so we can check it off a list. Indeed, that's what this blog would have looked like had I insisted on posting it "on schedule" on Wednesday. But good writing --  or anything that is worth reading for that matter -- takes time.

So, as it turns out, does coming up with ideas. In escaping the normal work week, I discovered the luxury of following my own body rhythms. Unfortunately, when the real world schedule is superimposed on that ideal, I come up short in the sleep department, and so I have become a proponent of the afternoon nap.

It is then, as I slow my brain so that it doesn't outpace my recumbent body, that the ideas flow most freely. When I stop trying to fix a problem, a solution arises. When I stop trying to figure out what to write about, a topic presents itself. The more intently I pursue my to-do list, the less creative work I get done.

Christina Schmidhofer
This has been a week spent in hot pursuit of a pretzel-like to-do list that tied itself in knots around too-full days. But today is Friday -- thank God -- and my house is quiet. Bits of to-dos are scattered everywhere, and the only way to sweep them away is to gather them up like wildflowers, savoring each one as I place it into the bouquet that is my "I did it!" list. Each flower I pick up carries with it a sense of accomplishment, one that will brighten my day as I go, leaving it more beautiful at its conclusion.

And then comes the weekend.

Life is good.


  1. Just reading this and nodding my head. I fill in my calendar in pencil for a REASON. And yes, when I put things aside so I can rest, that's when I get the ideas.

  2. Regardless of the number of comments I get (or don't!), I feel as though my blog post has done its duty when someone identifies with it. Thanks for reading (and nodding), Barb :-)