Bye Bye To-Do List, Hello Have-Done List

I’ve had an epiphany this morning that I just had to share with you all. I’m sharing it because it’s motivated me so much and I hope it might help to motivate you too. I have revolutionised my to-do list into a have-done list. Now, before you say, ‘Is that all?’ and move on, wait to hear the whole story…

Usually, on a morning, if I’m not working, I come back from dropping my youngest two at school and slump on the sofa for a while. This used to be a half hour chill out, when I would catch up on messages, have a browse of social media and write my to-do list for the day. Recently, we’ve had some late nights and early mornings and my half hour slump has turned into an hour or sometimes even two hour zombified state.

This morning, I came to from this zombified state horrified that I’d just wasted two hours when I could have been cleaning, writing or thinking of ways to make our fortune. My husband is slaving away at work and I’m slouching on the sofa achieving precisely zilch. I jumped up from the sofa, hung the second load of washing on the line, put another load in, vacuumed the living room and hall. Then I picked up my notepad to write my to-do list.

At this precise moment, I started to wonder why I was so tired. Why was I so exhausted at 9am? Should I make a doctor’s appointment to get my thyroid checked or take an iron supplement? Or, horror of horrors, would more exercise make a difference? I decided to write down everything I had done since waking up that morning, instead of writing down what I still needed to do. And I mean everything.

So many of the jobs we do running a home or as primary caregivers, we don’t even count as jobs. All those day-to-day chores that go on in the background that aren’t particularly obvious but nevertheless need to be done. All those jobs, that would need to be written on a list if someone came to look after our home and/or our children for a couple of days. From getting up at 6.45am to returning from the school run at 9.15am I had:

  • Got the children out of bed.
  • Made sure all the children had breakfast.
  • Listened to two children read their reading books and written in their reading records.
  • Made 1.5 packed lunches.
  • Emptied the dishwasher, reloaded it with the breakfast things.
  • Done the washing up.
  • Folded the washing on the airer and put the piles of folded washing upstairs. (Everyone puts their own clothes away)
  • Fed the pets.
  • Put the first load of washing on the line and the second in the machine.
  • Taken our youngest children to school looking vaguely presentable and with everything they needed for the day.
  • Posted a parcel.

Okay, so none of those jobs require a great deal of skill. They’re just in the standard home-owner/primary caregiver job descriptions. But they still need doing. I later added to my list the vacuuming I did mid-morning, my short session on Duo Lingo, my job searches online and a bit of tidying. Phew! No wonder I was tired.

I found it hugely motivating writing down everything I had done, instead of everything I still felt I needed to do, for a change. It changed my perspective on those boring every day jobs. It didn’t make them any more exciting, but it made me value them more and value the fact that I do them. Mother’s Day is coming up at the end of the month. As a mother, maybe I need to value the stuff I do on a daily basis before I can expect everyone else to.

Why don’t you try it too? What have you done already today?

Monday Motivation - The Have-Done List

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