On finding the start

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On Finding the Start - Quote

Do you write lists, then tick off all the easy tasks first? Do you add things to your lists that you’ve already completed, just for the satisfaction of scoring them out? Do you avoid the difficult jobs, leaving them until your deadline is not just looming but hanging over your head?

I do.

All of this, and more.

I give myself a hard time about it, feeling that somehow I’m failing. That I’m procrastinating, not doing. That I’m avoiding, not achieving.

But, I’ve realised recently that ticking off all those easy tasks actually amounts to achieving A LOT.

That by making a start, I’m making progress.

That it doesn’t really matter where I begin, the important thing is that I begin.

Begin anywhere. John Cage

Most of the time I feel completely overwhelmed by all that I need to do. Kids, school, activities, house, life. My to-do list is never-ending. Two things added for every one ticked off. And the difficult tasks always left to last.


Over the last few months I have been keeping track of my entire life via list.

Whether it’s a daily task that I always forget (…take my Vitamin D), a weekly activity that I need to remember (…clarinet, library books), a one off (…evites, permission slips) or an ongoing activity (…decluttering!): it’s all on a list.

I have focused on simply ticking things off. It doesn’t matter what, something is better than nothing.

And I feel, BETTER.

I still have a mountain to climb (…hello blog emails), and I still feel pretty overwhelmed, but I can just about see the top now. Or at least, I know the top exists. It’s no longer lost in the clouds.

And those difficult tasks? I’m dealing with them the only way I can. One at a time.

It’s all good.

Months ago I was tagged by a wonderful writer, who blogs over at My Degrees of Separation, in the three day quote challenge. I am monumentally bad at responding to tags – add them to the deadline-hanging list! – but I generally get round to them eventually, especially if it’s one that has sparked my interest and inspired me to think. This is Day One in that challenge.

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16 thoughts on “On finding the start”

  1. I just love lists so so much. I write and rewrite and more often than not I tick the easy stuff off too. I don’t tend to write lists for every day house stuff though but I think I should. I always feel really disorganised when it comes to my house!

    1. Sara | mumturnedmom

      If I don’t write things down I have no hope of remembering to do them! I found I was forgetting even the simple daily stuff (making sure the kids took their library books in on the right day etc) so I now also have a reminders set in my phone for all those things! I’m feeling a lot more on top of things :)

  2. Ahh! The old adage ‘can’t live with them, can’t live without them’ is how I see lists in my life. Right now I am working on achieving simple daily lists, small steps but like you say something is better than nothing. Family life is a mass of writhing overwhelm, anyone who says otherwise must be a superhero! Sounds like you are doing a good job. X

    1. Sara | mumturnedmom

      I like that, a mass of writhing overwhelm, I hear you! I’m definitely more in control than I was, and I haven’t forgotten an appointment for a while! But, I think I need to break out daily lists – my ‘master’ list is still a little overwhelming!

    1. Sara | mumturnedmom

      Absolutely, I feel much more in control if I’ve written everything down. The chaos is too much for me otherwise ;)

  3. It’s so funny to read this today, I was literally having an internal monologue earlier about this. I wrote a to do list this morning and ticked off about 5 things off the list but then did 5 other things that needed doing that I hadn’t added to the list and I was debating (with myself) whether I should add them to tick them off haha. Glad I’m not the only one who does this and I’m glad your lists are helping. I sometimes don’t know where to start as there are so many things to remember, and it definitely helps to see them written down! Xx #thetruthabout

    1. Sara | mumturnedmom

      Ha! There is satisfaction in the crossing out, isn’t there :) I would literally be lost without lists at the moment, and even with them I struggle some days to keep on top of everything!

  4. I should definitely spend more time writing lists! I understand what you mean about the never-ending nature of the to do list – ‘life’s admin’. Right now I actually think focusing on back to back tasks is what I need – to be busy and have demands on my time in general because any empty time just finds me back in that lonely place having thoughts I just don’t want to be having. X #thetruthabout

    1. Sara | mumturnedmom

      I do find it helps me, keeping busy, staying focused on one thing (or many!) does stop your mind from drifting elsewhere. I also find that it’s a great boost to my overall mood to see written down just how much I’ve accomplished in a day/week.

  5. I have absolutely added an already-done item to a list so I can cross it off!

    On a very busy day where I’ve been running everywhere but still feel like I haven’t accomplished anything, I’ll even sit down and draw up a whole list of everything I’ve done that day so I can see everything I have accomplished!

    1. Sara | mumturnedmom

      Absolutely, it gives a real boost to see, visually, just how much you’ve achieved, otherwise it can feel like you’ve got nowhere at all xx

  6. It’s good to be reminded that crossing out things on the to-do list means that you have achieved something even if they are the easier tasks. I love having a to-do list – it helps keep me organised even though some tasks get bumped along from day-to-day – on the whole they get done eventually and those that don’t are clearly not that important anyway! I agree though that the hardest thing to do is to make a start on things. When I start feeling overwhelmed about a big task, I try to remind myself that all I have to do is make the effort to start it. Usually everything else will follow from there. #thetruthabout

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