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From My Perspective: Ta Done

We all have a to do list of some sort. Many of us are ruled by all of the things we have to get done, and often one thing becomes more urgent and knocks something else off or down a rung on the list.

I have worked, lived and planned many things in my life with to-do lists. They are my task-master of everything that needs to get done. If I don’t write things down, I sometimes don’t remember. Heck, even when I do write things down I don’t always remember. My other half says it’s because I’m getting old. I say it’s because I constantly feel like I have too much to get done. We debate it often, and that’s okay.

If you’re anything like me, a to-do list sometimes leaves me feeling deflated before the day even gets going, and when urgent matters come up and I don’t get to accomplish all the items on my list, I end up feeling unproductive at the end of the day. Feeling both deflated or unproductive in a day is not good for me, and feeling both in the same day, really not good for my mental state.

This weekend, though, I tried something a little different. I hadn’t planned on it; it just sort of happened. Generally during holiday weekends, I find solace and I hide at our little cabin in the woods. There’s plenty to do here to keep me busy for probably another lifetime. Cabin repairs, yard work, stockpiling wood for the winter, the list goes on…and on.

This weekend, however, I ditched the big list. Saturday especially, I just did what came to mind next. I had the house to myself. Well, me and the dogs. There have been things I’ve been meaning to do, meaning to add to my list and meaning to get done.

First, I noticed a few dishes in the sink, so promptly did them and got them put away, cleaned off the counters and did a few other minor things in the kitchen. With rain on the way, I wanted to make sure the wood stove was cleaned out so we could have a fire in the damp weather. That led me to wanting to make sure wood was split and brought up to the deck so we wouldn’t have to wander so far in the wet. I loaded a few more things onto the burn pile, in case it didn’t rain and we might be able to get some burning done throughout the weekend, and then took a break and had some breakfast on the deck with the dogs.

Remembering it was a holiday weekend and the transfer station wouldn’t be open Monday, I cleaned the cat box, gathered trash from around the house, and got it ready to go. I went into town briefly to help a friend with a couple of things and then made my way back out to the cabin where I had a snack, and then sat and knit for a bit before giving a little time and attention to my spinning wheel. Later, I worked in my studio.

I went to hang out with my horse, took the dogs for a quick jaunt, and came in to prepare dinner. It was just 6 p.m. In a relatively small amount of time, I completed a lot of stuff. The word “ta-done” popped into my head, and it was this big revelation for me.

Look at everything I accomplished without a list of things to get done. I didn’t feel deflated at all on Saturday. I felt good for what I had done. I didn’t feel unproductive and it felt amazing. So, I decided to write a “Ta-Done List” instead. There were other things I did throughout the day too. When I looked at that list, I smiled and felt grateful for what I accomplished, and the day felt successful.

Will everyday have a ta-done list like that? Probably not, but what if we all looked over what we had actually accomplished instead of beating ourselves up for what we hadn’t at the end of the day?

I’ll likely still have a to-do list, but probably not as long as those I’ve made them in the past. I’m thinking of calling it a reminder list instead. “To do” implies demanding in my mind. A reminder list will help me remember the important things like phone calls and deadlines.

Yes, I think celebrating my ta-dones will be so much more effective. I invite you to give it a try and see if it makes a difference for you the way it did for me. We all need more accomplishments and reasons to celebrate, don’t you think?


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