Sunday, October 02, 2011

No To Do

I’m a planner and a list-maker. Meals for the upcoming week, groceries to buy, gifts to make, books to read, state parks to visit, things to do before I die, items to pack for travel (winter and summer), things I might buy if I still want them in 30 days, hikes to take … you get the drift. I like me a good list. And I really, really like checking things off those lists.

This personality trait helps me in my job, where I manage multiple projects on tight timelines. Lists (and the satisfaction of accomplishing the things on them) come in pretty handy there. But lately I’ve been noticing that lists can take the place of something more important. I’ve noticed that I can fill my time with somewhat arbitrary stuff, and miss out on real connections. That I can spend a month reading a book I am just not into (because it’s on my list) instead of being swept up for several hours in a story that enthralls me.


So …. I’ve been experimenting with the idea of having no plans on (at least one day of) the weekends. To just do what feels good at the time and see what happens. A weekend with no ‘to do’. Radical, right? For a list-maker like me, it is.


So here’s what happened this weekend (sorry, but I have to make it a list).
  • I saw some awesome clouds.
  • I washed my sheets. 
  • I vacuumed, and actually figured out why sometimes the machine blows instead of sucks. This is a good realization. 
  • I painted a (very rough, completely non-perfectionist) portrait of my friend’s daughter and used it as her birthday card. 
  • I also made a birthday card for my step-mum. 
  • Both the above cards are addressed, stamped, and ready to mail. 
  • I skyped with my sister and one daughter. 
  • I walked a 3-mile circuit through my local cemetery. I love living near a graveyard. 
  • I spent enjoyable time with four of my favourite girlfriends (on three separate occasions). 
  • I visited a letterpress printing fair and relished lots of cool art and antique equipment.
  • I finished a book (“Candide” by Voltaire) and started another (“Complicity” by Iain Banks)
  • I processed my accumulated work email and made a To Do list for tomorrow (should I be admitting this?)
So, with no planning, I seem to have hit on the important* points: loved ones, cleanliness, art, exercise.

But there’s the rub. I’m still measuring the success of my weekend against my mental “to do” list. And feeling pleased with myself that I ‘got there’ even though I hadn’t planned it in advance. Maybe there’s no escape from my personality type. Or maybe I just need to get more enlightened.
  • I did not go grocery shopping. I still have an almost empty fridge. But luckily I got to bring home the leftovers of tonight’s dinner with 2 gf’s. So I’m set for tomorrow.
  • Are you a list-maker? If so, how do you unwind?

*Important = reflective of my values. Your mileage may vary.


Rhea said...

That was awesome :)

deb did it said...

the best part of making a list is crumbling it up and throwing it in the garbage because I DID IT ALL