Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Substitutions Accepted (The Goldilocks To-Do List)

AlexBor via Pixabay

 Some days, I write a to-do list and I stick to it. 

Other days, I take a nap.

Last Monday was an off-kilter day. It started out like any other day, with my husband heading off to work and me heading off to class. Since it was the first day of the last week of classes, I was looking forward to the student-led discussions that would replace my "sage on the stage" instruction. The plan for the afternoon? Catching up on grading.

A somewhat typical Monday.

On the way to class, I called my daughter. 

She had the day off.

Then I called my husband. 

He was under the weather and would be coming home at lunchtime. 


The student discussions went well and I left campus ready to dig into some grading. But, on the way home, I noticed that there were parking spots available in front of the mom-and-pop plant place, so I stopped off to buy flowers to put in the small planter on my front porch. 

When I got home, I had to plant them (naturally). Then I would grade.

Right after lunch. 

But after lunch, I decided to finish my book so I'd meet my "finish two books" goal for the month. And then I decided to close my eyes for just a few minutes. 

Twenty minutes later, I opened my eyes and, about ten minutes after that I...

Did not grade. Instead, I reached for my book journal and another of my notebooks and jotted down all the things that were on my mind.

Eventually, I did grade. But, in keeping with the spirit of the day, I didn't grade quite as much as I had thought I might. The (very warm) afternoon had gotten away from me and, despite my nap, my mental energy was flagging. I turned to email and checked on a few tabs on my computer before I determined that I'd do a better job of grading tomorrow.

Even if it wasn't a work day.

I clicked around on my laptop for a bit before landing on a blog post draft that called out to me, so I finished it.

And then wrote two more.

Some days, we think we know what we're supposed to do. Last Monday, I thought I was supposed to grade -- and I did, for a bit. But, by listening to my instincts and pursuing the tasks that I felt primed for, I got a lot done, even if what I got done was not on that particular day's list.

Obviously, we can't meander every day. If we don't stick to the to-do list at least some of the time, we'll never get anything done. But if, on a warm spring Monday, nothing is going quite according to plan, it's not the end of the world. 

It might, in fact, lead us to the Goldilocks to-list -- the one that's just right for that particular day and time.

And we just might find that sweet spot between rest and productivity.

No comments:

Post a Comment