To-Don’t List, How to Make
Making a “to do” list is something most of us do on a regular basis. It’s a way to keep track of the regular and out-of-the-ordinary tasks we intend to accomplish on any given day.
But what do you do with your “to-do” list when the unexpected happens? (I’ve heard the question, “Do you know how to make God laugh?” and the answer, “Tell him you’ve got a plan.”) Sometimes God has something in mind for our day besides our plan!
Whether you wake up with the worst summer cold you’ve had in years, or your kids wake you up in the middle of the night vomiting, or a friend needs you to take her to the doctor, or the electricity is off all day or your neighbor has to take her husband to the hospital and needs you to watch her kids…well, the things on your “to-do” list are just not going to happen!
When a crisis hits, instead of stressing yourself out trying to complete your “to-do” list, it’s time to make a “to-don’t” list.
A “to-don’t” list consists of the tasks you do not need to do that day.
- “Cook supper” is a “to-don’t” when you have a frozen casserole you can take out of the freezer.
- “Pay bills” can be put off when you plan to at least write them out a week before they are due.
- Vacuuming, dusting, and cleaning out the closet can be put on the “to-don’t” list very easily (I sometimes do that even when I’m not sick!).
- Obviously meetings and other “out of the house” appointments will probably not get done; just be sure to call the appropriate person to let them know of your change in plans.
If you are the type of person who just cannot go through a day without a list (sheepishly raising my hand), the tasks on your “to-do” list should be: Sleep. Take vitamins. Cuddle with kids. Help my neighbor.
Being able to cross things off your “to-do” list requires planning ahead.
- Plan to pay your bills—or at least write them out and put them in the envelope with a stamp—a few days ahead of when they’re due, so you don’t have to fit that in on a hectic day to avoid a service charge.
- Shop ahead and be sure to have the basics on hand. Depending on your family situation, it might be vital to have diapers and wipes on hand. Or if your family seems to catch every bug going through, have over-the-counter medications and comfort foods on hand. If a neighbor is in poor health and often calls you to take her to the doctor or hospital, make a mental note of a few things you can stick in your purse, to do while waiting (for example, keep greeting cards in your purse so you can write out birthday and anniversary cards for the month ahead, or your current knitting project or magazines you haven’t gotten to read yet).
- When you cook, ask yourself if you can easily double or triple the recipe, freezing the extras for a day when you’re under the weather and don’t feel like cooking, or to share with a sick neighbor.
- Take inventory of your pantry. Do you have the ingredients to make at least a few basic recipes, in case a crisis of some kind prevents you from going to the grocery store? Do you have some comfort foods, like canned soup or pudding mix, ready to make?
A “to-do” list is vital to keep us focused most days…but a “to-don’t” list can be just as vital on days when “real life” steps in.
Have you ever made a “to-don’t” list? What would be on it?
I’m also blogging the A to Z Challenge at www.nebraskafamilytimes.blogspot.com. Check it out!