The not “on-the-to-do-list” list

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todolistI wrote a to do list the other morning. I felt pleased about that. I felt ambitious about everything I was going to get done. By two in the afternoon I sat down to mark off what I had got done. There were only two of the seven things done. For a moment I felt dumbfounded, confused by why when I was trying so hard to do things I would fail at getting anything done.

Then I started writing a second list. This is my list of things that were not on the to-do-list, but got done anyway.

  • Mop up another puddle of cat pee.
  • Re-install a graphics driver on the computer.
  • Participate in online discussion (two comments only).
  • Supervise kids while they play an online game.
  • Comfort a child as he complains about feeling really bad.
  • Pass paper notes to a child hiding inside a cardboard box.
  • Read and take notes on a book that needs to be returned to the lender.
  • Make lunch, serve it, wash the dishes and clean the kitchen.
  • Read a book to a child.
  • Help find craft supplies for the children.

Lesson of the day: to do lists are fine, but they are only half the story. If your to-do list isn’t done, write up the list of what you did do before you judge yourself a failure.

 

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