When You’re Too Task Oriented

Is your to-do list keeping you from enjoying time with your kids? Step away from the post-it notes ...

My head is a scramble of to-do lists and tasks 24/7. Seriously, I think I check off square boxes in my dreams… it’s bad, really bad.

It is hard to enjoy life when your mind is constantly swirling with things to get done and I’m not talking about the BIG things like buying a car, painting a room, cleaning out the attic or any other major household chore. Here is a glimpse into my head during my lunch hour this past week while I shopped for a matching shower curtain for my freshly painted bathroom:
To-Do Checklist
  • the bottle recycling in the kitchen needs to go out
  • the garbage is full
  • Lydia’s diaper genie is full
  • she has no more sleepers tonight, need to do laundry
  • the floors really should be scrubbed
  • oh crap, we have a birthday party Saturday and no gift
  • I should really shop for a new dress for that wedding next weekend
  • WEDDING! that’s another present to shop for
  • the spare bedroom really should be cleaned out so it is usable space
  • I never hung a single picture on Lydia’s nursery wall.. or our bedroom wall for that matter
  • I should paint the hallway cabinets upstairs to match the bathroom
  • remember to cancel that home warranty
  • oh right the credit card is due this week!
  • wait when is pay-day?
This is honestly just a glimpse, the list is never-ending, my mind never shuts up!
Can anyone else relate? I know one of my fellow co-authors here at Working Moms Against Guilt can. As I wrote this I stumbled upon her post where she talks about being overwhelmed with everyday life. Her post is appropriately titled It’s Okay…
Beach House

Last week we spent a week with family in Virginia Beach. We had a gorgeous beach house (that I didn’t have to clean or constantly move clutter around in!) and it was one of the most relaxing trips I have been on in a long time. I even managed to read three entire books, gasp!

The moment we arrived home last weekend, my mind was in overdrive because I felt like I was a week behind in daily tasks. There was a moment when I was changing Lydia’s diaper, she was giggling and I realized I wasn’t even paying attention to her because my mind was rattling off a to-do list like the one above. It dawned on me at that moment that I am way too task oriented. It is now to the point where I am not allowing myself to take time to appreciate the fun times with my daughter because I am always so consumed with getting stuff done. Idle time is not something I allow myself to have and when she is off playing on the floor instead of feeling like I can spend that time playing with her, I force myself to continue checking off things on my to-do list.

It feels like a double-edged sword to me because it is hard to enjoy things when I know I have a long list of things to still get done. On the other hand, if I never stop to enjoy the time I have with my daughter, won’t I regret that? What happens if the floor doesn’t get scrubbed for a month? Will the world end? Probably not. So why can’t I just let some things go?

A few months ago, I wrote a blog post about the Five Must Have Productivity Apps for the Working Mom. I use Evernote to keep track of my life on a daily basis and I am a bit more organized than even this blog post would suggest. Ultimately, I don’t think my problem is organization, I think my problem is the inability to enjoy myself until everything is complete and let’s face it, the to-do list of a mom is never complete!

I’m challenging myself to reevaluate my priorities and take specific time each day to spend enjoying my daughter and not stressing over the dishes in the sink or the floors that need to be cleaned. I challenge each of you to do the same!

6 thoughts on “When You’re Too Task Oriented

  1. Kristi Blust says:

    Great post, Monica! I think I have the opposite problem. I take care of what’s absolutely necessary (e.g. bills, overflowing wastebasket), but cleaning is way down there on my priority list (my poor, sweet, husband..). I could probably take a note from you and be a little more task oriented.

  2. This is totally me. Sometimes I force myself to “give up” on being productive and just be “lazy.” It doesn’t last long, but at least I get a little break from the tasks and endless pressure to get shit done. Agh!

  3. The way I try to cope with this perpetual problem is making lists of about 1-2 things to do everyday of the week so my head doesn’t explode. This way, it is on the calendar but I don’t feel like I spend my whole evening doing tasks/chores. Also, I LOVE amazon. This does require a little planning ahead, but since they have 2 day shipping, it’s not too hard. Going out to shop for presents is a thing of the past for me. Not worth the money in gas or the time it takes (which I could be spending with family or unwinding).

    1. Anna this is pretty much my approach too. I completely relate to Monica’s post. On the weeks I’m just too exhausted to do anything other then cook and get the kids to bed, I find myself running around all weekend trying to check off the very long list of things I have to do because I wasn’t able during the week. However, if I am able to accomplish 1-2 extra things per night, and not fall asleep in my sons bed while saying prayers, then I feel so much better going into the weekend. I am able to actually enjoy the weekend and rest. Verses getting up, drinking a cup of coffee and then BAM cleaning begins. I have to CONSTANTLY remind myself to let things go and enjoy these precious moments with my kids. I do listen to the inner reminder to “let it go,” but sometimes there is an argument involved (No I must clean up the….blah, blah, blah).

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