I like a good to-do list. I enjoy checking off the tasks and feeling that sense of accomplishment and “getting shit done”. I even, straight up, no kidding, add things to the list as I go along in my day doing things I hadn’t thought to plan on the list in the first place, just so I can also check that one off the list. lol Here’s a thing I have to keep in mind, though; the list is not the achievement. The list is not “getting shit done”. The list isn’t even any one of – or all of – the tasks listed thereon. Not at all. It’s just a list. There are still verbs involved, real work, real task processing, real effort. Sometimes items on a list are easily done. Sometimes it’s trickier than that. An item on a to-do list that I really don’t want to deal with can potentially throw me off course for days or even weeks, as I work around it – and sometimes something like that can stall me completely, when I know it really must be done, and I’m really just not doing it.

Today I got a couple things done that have been on and off one list or another for months now. Both were sort of “housekeeping”, sort of “work”, both required some commitment of my time and energy. One required my time, and also my Traveling Partner’s time – so needed to be coordinated across our shared availability, and account for our individual will and interest in any given moment. One required me to learn quite a few new skills, and enhance skills I had that were a bit “rusty” or “behind the times”. Both were useful, needful, and potentially profitable, if only I could find both the will and the time for every detail, and do so in the order such things were required to go forward. So complicated!

Interestingly, as I built my skills, or completed smaller elements of each project on my list, it wasn’t those details that felt like accomplishments at all (even though that’s truly where the accomplishments seemed to be) – it was when I checked off the projects from my to-do list, this morning. Wild. Human primates are such odd creatures. I didn’t give myself any shred of credit for the small achievements like learning a new application, or building on my HTML skills, or improving how my art images are archived – in spite of the work involved in each one of those things. I didn’t celebrate those moments, they just sort of went by largely unnoticed, glasses riding down my nose as I frowned at my monitor, studying. Bringing a web page to life? Cool, cool, sure… but I felt the joy when I checked it off my list. That seems strange and potentially misplaced. Something to think about.

…I sit quietly with some “thinking about things music“…

What have you gotten done lately that you didn’t pause to appreciate? What small moments of joy have slipped by without a chance to enjoy them properly? Are you looking at the world through the lens of maximum productivity, as if you are little more than machinery? Are you pushing yourself along based on programming and implicit expectations you’ve absorbed from elsewhere? Are you letting work define your life?

…I breathe, exhale, and relax. It’s a good day for it. I’ve gotten a few things done – but more than that, I’ve remembered to enjoy the moments.

I think about the Spring garden. Spring is weeks away yet, and it’s already time to plan. The earliest spring bulbs, hyacinths, crocuses, and such are already beginning to break through the soil. I think it might be nice to enjoy a hot cup of drinking chocolate and flip through seed catalogs.

Already time to begin again?