Some of us like to feel we've made headway on our daily or weekly or whatever-ly list of Stuff to Do. Experts tell us we need to prioritize. A favorite ploy is to assign a letter to each task on the list of Stuff. "A" means it's high priority. Under "A" you can further prioritize: A-1, A-2, A-3 . . . .
Next would come the "B" list. These aren't as critical as those on the "A" list. The "C" list would be those tasks that might get done someday.
I tried the method outlined above. It was part of the training when our office staff got our planners. By the time I left the presentation, my brain had overloaded with all the methodology.
So, now that I'm in retirement, and to make myself a semblance of order and even, perhaps, notice some headway, I've made my own method.
What experts call the "A" list, I call Right-Now Projects. These are tasks that need to be done very soon, such as prepare a meal so I can eat before 8 PM (Daylight Savings Time is messing with my dinnertime); or get to the bank before it closes, if I want to cash a check; or drive by the Post Office to mail the bill payment so it goes out today instead of tomorrow. Or finish a quilt for a birthday gift.
Every week my exercise classes go to the top of the Right-Now list on the day they're scheduled. If I don't go then, I'll have to wait another week for the class to come around again.
We all have these tasks that nag at us to get done. Or suffer the consequences--which may be light or onerous. I hate late fees, so that's a good motivator for me.
My next list is the Soon List. Yesterday I visited the Walmart in a town 20 miles from where I live because that store still sells fabric that I can use for the baby blankets and pillow cases made by Heart & Hands. That trip has been on my Soon List for several weeks; the only thing keeping me from going Right Now was weather.
Another Soon task is returning books to the library (before they become Right-Now projects). When I do return them, I'll do some other errands at the same time: banking, post office visit.
My "C" list is called the Whenever List. No surprise (is it?) that it includes cleaning out the garage, sorting Stuff for a church garage sale, sorting fabrics and putting them in different groups . . . .
Already, though, the garage cleaning is begging to be done for the garage sale. (The sale is to be held early in June at the home of a family in our church; proceeds go to our food pantry.) Tasks on the Whenever List in March will become Soon by late April. And if I don't get it done until May, it'll be crowding onto Right-Now.
As I wrote about the Stuff-to-Do in my life, I got nudgings about other types of projects.
What about our relationships? Do we keep in touch with family, friends, neighbors, co-workers? Is this a Whenever project in your life? I hate to admit, it's pretty much Soon or Whenever for me.
Social media has done a lot to help folks stay in touch. For some, that's ideal. For me, it's a chore. I find ways to check up and check in that don't require me to listen to my cell phone's demanding beep.
What about community involvement? Need some suggestions? Here are a few, free for the taking:
- serve at a soup kitchen
- volunteer at a food pantry
- volunteer at a hospital or school or library
- volunteer at an animal shelter
- offer your services to a youth group--community or church
- knit/sew for a charity
- be a driver for folks who no longer drive
These may be Right-Now kinds of projects for you. And if they're not "in perpetuity," remember that your one hour volunteered helps somebody. If you knit one hat or sew one blanket, one more child or adult will be kept warm.
Time/duration is immaterial. One hour reading to a child in elementary school . . . two hours at a homeless shelter . . . four hours toting Girl Scout cookies from the warehouse to the moms' SUVs . . . half a day at a marathon handing out oranges to runners. . . .
Whatever you give helps someone else. And . . . yourself as well.
Have a blessed week.