This is a “coming out” post. I really wanted to skip writing this morning, knowing I’d probably write about this. I worry that too many enjoyable things to do is the very definition of “first world problem.” Granted, I like being productive and others tell me (constantly) that I am. Yet, I (constantly) believe that I’m never doing enough.

I have a, let’s go with “unrealistic”, relationship with my todo lists. Perhaps others have similarly gotten lost on the path to “enough”. So we begin our journey with a glimpse into my likely-faulty-maybe mental models - my list of things to do today. Later, when I write finding balance, we’ll have a “before” picture.

Maybe. When I typed “balance”, my body contracted. No way! I’m keeping ALL THESE TODOS. (Is there a such thing as todo list hoarding?)

Okay, today on my “to do” list is (deep breathe):

  1. Pet care
    • Groom the golden retriever
    • Set up the dogs agility set in their play yard (the toys came inside when it snowed over Thanksgiving)
    • Clean the litter box, ferret cage (wash bedding) and rat cage (they are new additions). Likely also includes paint the table the cage is on and build a rat play area (they climbed right out of the last one).
    • Clean / clear up the basement and create a space for doggos to hang out outside their crates
    • Rearrange the cat/ferret area so I can put a plant table in the big front window (see build plant tables below)
  2. Home work
    • Move furniture to/from my study into the new office space we set up this week (which is great, btw)
    • Hang my artsy accoutrements up in my study
    • Sew curtains for at least two rooms (or shop for them)
    • Redo the inside of three closets, including a trip to buy the materials and cutting them
    • Take down the tree and set up a space for yoga and exercise in its stead
    • Find a mirror for the living room and another for the yoga space
    • Usual chores like laundry
  3. Painting furniture
    • am armoire (already taped)
    • our fireplace (almost done)
    • my writing desk
    • two kitchen counter stools
    • intricate side tables in the living room
    • frame of picture over the mantel
    • media console
    • two plant tables
    • two bedside tables
    • likely includes shopping for and painting a bookcase for my study at the local ReStore
    • likely includes our work table which will require a 45 minute each way trip for more paint
  4. Plants
    • repot three new plants and build a table for them to live on in the big window
    • build a space for our winter microgreen garden (or decide the basement planting table is sufficient) and plant the four types of seeds we bought yesterday
  5. Cooking
    • Clean the kitchen
    • Make the six new recipes I found in my new cookbook, including learning to make almond milk and granola (fortunately, the grocery shopping was done yesterday
    • Make my own sauerkraut in the fermenting crock I got for Christmas
  6. Exercise
  7. Launch the new business website (the most necessary thing yet I keep forgetting to prioritize it while sorting my todo list)
    • Finish coding the design and features across all devices and testing it
    • Write 6-8 new pieces of content, including past talks
    • Do the many other little tasks needed to launch then launch
  8. Work
    • Create two architectural artifacts for client meetings next week
    • Write and design the talk for the Feb 5th conference
  9. Personal work
    • Build and integrate reading lists on LibraryThing with this site
    • Build and launch the recipe site and link yesterday’s posts to them
    • Move and restyle my personal site
    • Read the stack of books we bought for our relaxing holiday!

I want to erase this right now. Not because I’m embarrassed to share these things. (I kinda am.) I’m uncomfortable with the fact that I was not being facetious when I said “Today”.

I know, of course, that I can’t get all of these things done today. It’s 9:19 am and I have been journaling / writing since 5:30 am so who has time?! And these are the priorities, other things will come up.

What I didn’t know … unless I let myself really see that list … is that the items on that list are an unreasonable amount of mental and emotional weight to be carrying around. I honestly feel like I could and should and hope to get it all done.

Here’s the thing: by the middle-end of January, I will have done them all, or at least most of them. For the first time in my life, I am asking myself … at what cost?

Crazy-busy’ is a great armor, it’s a great way for numbing. What a lot of us do is that we stay so busy, and so out in front of our life, that the truth of how we’re feeling and what we really need can’t catch up with us. – Brene Brown

Maybe Brene is onto something? Naw. Well, hmmm, maybe. What’s the balance between joyful creatively productive and … that list?

We’ll see.