I’m my own worst enemy, and I know it, particularly when it comes to tackling the stacks of things I need to accomplish each week (and sometimes day) through the busy times of the year, both at work and at home. Sometimes, I get so overwhelmed by the sheer volume of stuff I have to tackle, wrestle to the ground, and tie securely with a pert bow, that I have trouble even deciding where to start. For many people, the “obvious” solution is a to-do list, one that lays out all the tasks that take priority for a set length of time.
Sure, a to-do list allows a person to see it all in one place, and to strike items from the list as they’re finished with a sense of relief and accomplishment. My problem is seeing my list, and noticing after a day of working non-stop that I’ve crossed fewer than half the jobs off. It’s frustrating. It’s disheartening. It makes me feel like my best isn’t enough and I’ll never, ever catch up. These feelings make me want to take a bubble bath to drink Pepsi slurpees and read Archie comics to forget about the world for a day or three. For people like me, who are way too hard on themselves already, to-do lists foster a sense of failure and inadequacy; they discourage us rather than cheer us on, and that’s incredibly counterproductive.
Here’s my proposal: let’s replace the to-do list with a list of only the things we’ve accomplished, the stuff that’s finished and can be celebrated, rather than the jobs we didn’t get to and will have to beat into submission with a potato masher another day. Who wants to end a day staring at all the things that tomorrow brings? Not this girl. I will attempt to coin a phrase and call this new list the “ta-dah!” list. Think of one of those wiry olympic gymnasts, flipping fluidly off the beam and landing flawlessly with her arms raised and a smile broad enough to reveal 94% of her teeth. The look on her face and the surety of her posture say, “I am a rockstar; look what I did! TA-DAH!” She owns her accomplishment in that moment instead of ruminating over what she didn’t quite perfect, and that’s a great approach to life in general.
I will be implementing the ta-dah! list into my life starting today. This is the school year when I am nicer to myself, because I have to live with me forever and I’d darn well better be my best companion. We all know it’s better to hang out with someone who shakes their pom-poms to celebrate us than someone who points out all our flaws and “not-quites” with a critical eye.
Today I write my fabulous list, which actually includes more items than I thought I’d get to, on pretty paper with a hot pink marker. Then, I punch my hands skyward and holler, “TA-DAH!”
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