I had a rough day at work on Friday. All I wanted to do at the end of it was come home and sit. And do nothing. My husband had school, leaving the little girls and I on our own. The weather was nice so the minute we got home they ran off to play with the neighbor girls. I had two options. I could a) lay down/watch TV/read/relax and feel totally worthless, or b) I could just DO the things I needed to get done.
So I did something out of character. I wrote a list of things I wanted to accomplish on Friday night. And I started DOING it. Laundry? Check. Give the dog a bath? Check. Dishes? Check. And on and on it went.
I went to bed feeling like I hadn’t accomplished anything but when I looked at my list there was proof that I had, in fact, gotten quite a bit done. Huh.
Saturday we were on our own again until noon and the little girls had a birthday party to attend. I got up early, transferred the few things from Friday’s list that I didn’t finish to a new list, and added on several items. I spent the day cleaning, working, making beds, and more. At the end of the day, once again, I had a long list nearly completely checked off.
This morning I made another list and headed out to go to the office for a few hours. When I returned home I made myself lunch and sat briefly in front of the TV. I was surfing the channels, hoping for a Sex and the City rerun or something, and found Oprah’s Life Class. Okay…I should probably admit that I am not a huge fan of Oprah. I think she has accomplished remarkable things, she’s a tremendously successful business woman, but enough already. Today, however, she got me at exactly the right moment. I was tired, hungry, and I got sucked in. And I mean SUCKED IN. Tony Robbins was on and he was talking about the stories we tell ourselves and the need to change those stories.
My husband walked in saying something about running over the in-ground leash we have for the dog with the lawn mower and needing to fix it. I barely heard what he was saying. I was totally captivated by the stories people were admitting to tell themselves. As I thought about it I realized that one of the stories that I tell myself is that I can’t get anything done. I’m unable, there is no time, and I’m incapable of getting the things done that I want to get done.
My husband came in again, feeling badly about the lawn mower/leash accident, and started to encourage me to take a nap. His logic was that I’d gotten so much done this weekend that I could surely spare an hour for a nap and then continue down my list for today. I thought about it…a nap did sound lovely…but it sounded lovelier to finish my list.
I turned off Oprah, went for a six-mile walk, and then got right back to work. Tonight I feel like I’ve done more on a weekend than I have in ages. And all it took was making lists, focusing on getting through them, and not letting myself off by just giving in to the same old story I’ve been telling myself. I’m able to go to work tomorrow feeling satisfied with what I’ve accomplished. It’s so refreshing!
TODAY: What if I throw the story about my not being able to get things done out the window and just start doing it? What if all it takes is focus (lists) and a commitment to change my story?