I don’t have any bumper stickers on my car. One day, I’m going to find the courage to commit and put one on the back of my amazingly awesome Mom-mobile also known as a 2006 Toyota Sienna.
This morning I saw the one I’ll start with. It said, “I do my own stunts” and featured a person flying through the air. I liked it because it affirmed a recent realization: I don’t value a lot of my own work. It doesn’t make sense yet, but keep reading and it might.
I love making lists. In high school, one of my dearest friends taught me to put things I would definitely accomplish that day on my list so I’d have the joy of crossing them off. I’m not above putting things like “shower” and “get dressed” on my list. I’m also not above putting things on my list after I’ve done them. I’ve had people object to that and to them I say, “It’s my list. Back off.”
But my things to do lists are always longer than my time to do things so I end the day looking at five or ten things I didn’t get to. This became discouraging. So I changed my methodology and frankly, I think it borders on genius.
I now make a “things I’ve done list.” And I don’t shy away from capturing my accomplishments, friends. Did I shower and get dressed? That counts. Read
seventy-seven four picture books to my son? On the list. Cook dinner for my own family and a friend’s family? Two entries, right there. Have a baking day? Every item baked is an item I’ve done. Have a hard conversation with someone? It didn’t keep me from my work, it was my work, and so I record it. Write in my journal? Write a few thank you notes? Send encouraging texts to my friends? Care for the souls of others? All of it is on that list.
When I read this post on how to bullet journal (I have my own version of how to bullet journal but I love this article and it’s really the only one you ever need), I realized that I was creating a log. By creating a log, I am valuing what I actually do each day. Some of the log represents significant accomplishments that anyone would recognize as such. Some of my log represents the way I pour into the lives of others that don’t feel important enough to write on a things to do list. But since I’ve done them, they qualify. As I consider them, I see their importance.
I’ve started including “being” activities too. Maybe you’ve heard people say, “You’re not a human doing, you’re a human being.” Yes, and thank you for the reminder. Instead of feeling like I’m wasting time or being selfish when I sit down to practice painting a watercolor sunset, I add it to my log and think, “Way to invest in something you love! Way to become more human!”
Reading a book to my four year old before he takes a nap? Incredibly valuable. But until I started valuing my work enough to log it all, I didn’t see how much I was able to do in a day. Now I’m patting myself on the back for doing my
own stunts, and writing it down.
(I learned after I wrote this post that some people call their log their “ta-da list.” Yes, I am trading in my “to-do” list for my “ta-da” list.)