A few weeks ago, I started doing this radical thing called “write stuff down so I don’t forget” in a never-heard-of-before item called an “organizational binder.”
I know. I’m one of the first to do it. This type of thing has never been done before. No one has ever heard of it. Planners? Calendars? What even are these?
Sarcastic much, Laura?
You know what? You people who have been doing this list thing since you learned to write words? You just laugh all you want. I’ve always been a “write-it-down” rebel. I’ve never wanted to be tied down to any list. Lists stress me out – as if writing it down means that I’ve failed if for some reason I can’t cross it off at the end of the day. There were too many days I’d leave too many items unfinished and un-crossed off. Boo.
So instead I just kept my 40,000 item to-do list trapped in my head, swirling around, all day long. This is the main reason I’d stare blankly at my children when they’d ask about having friends over on Friday. In order to answer, the file cabinet in my brain had to pull out several drawers, and then the brain papers scattered, which means I provided several different facial expressions before I’d finally answer the can I have friends over on Friday question with put them in the pantry when you’re finished answer.
What? My kids are used to it.
But enough is enough, so finally a few weeks ago I began to get better about writing down the absolutes of my schedule. I printed all my favorite organization pages from the Homemaking Bundle and put them together in a cute binder. I didn’t want to hate my lists, so I did this instead:
- If it has a day attached to it (such as Hannah’s reception, 2:00 Saturday, April 30) I write that down on the specific day. I’d already been doing some of that, because even I have understood the importance of writing those kinds of details on a calendar.
- If it doesn’t have a day attached to it but is only an I hope to get this done sometime before Malachi graduates in 2023, I write it on a general list. After all, if I wrote it on Monday and didn’t accomplish it on Monday, then I’d be mad at my list and we’d be right back where we started.
You never knew I was so high maintenance did you?
How’s my new organizational binder treating me, you ask?
Splendid, I’d say. (Channeling my inner Mary Poppins there. Or was it Bert? Whatever. I’ll add look up who used the word splendid on my never ending to-do list. Oh, no, wait. I remember. It was Mr. Banks. Okay, moving on.)
As I begin each day, I write down the must-do’s and the hope-to-do’s in my binder – in separate sections. As they come to me, I jot down meal ideas on the meal planning page. As I think of recipes I want to try to invent and posts I want to write, I write them on a different list.
Now if my kids say, “Can I have friends over on Friday?” I look on the calendar and say, “Yes. We’re free.” This isn’t nearly as much fun as telling them to put their friends in the pantry, but it is more efficient.
Here’s the truth about my organizational binder that I finally recognize and why I can stop being a “write-it-down” rebel:
My planner doesn’t own me.
I own my planner.
So what if I write down an idea based on a plan I have for the day or the week, but other needs arise and I don’t get it all done? Who even cares? I only need to do what I do. Not getting all of it done isn’t a symptom of failure – it’s a reality of life.
Words on paper mean nothing (unless it’s the Bible or like a marriage certificate or something, but you know what I mean). But the simple act of writing down all the to-do’s and getting them out of my swirling head has truly been helpful. I shall continue this revolutionary idea of writing lists in planners.
Maybe you all should try it sometime. No pressure.
Are you a writer-downer? Or do you tell your kids to put their friends in the pantry?