Lessons from a list – First (angry) things first

I made a list of all the little things that I was angry about.

It was all the little stuff, the things that are so normal that I don’t even think of it as anger any more.

What am I angry about?

It was a powerful question.  I’m not even sure I liked the answer.  I felt ugly.  And petty.  And small.

I struggled.

I could almost HEAR the whininess leaping off the page.

I don’t like to do laundry.

I still don’t have handles on the closet doors.  It’s been two years.

I’m tired of the dust bunnies on the stairs.

I want new shoes, again.

I want a vacation.

I resent not being able to string coherent thoughts together without interruption.

first angry things first

First (angry) things first.

There were a handful of things that jumped out because they had such an immediate fix.

I’ve been angry about the dust bunnies on the stairs for about two weeks.  Every time I went up or down the stairs, I would see those bunnies.  I kept thinking “wow, someone is going to see these soon, wonder when they’ll get cleaned up?”  and “sheesh! someone should really take care of these.”

It took me 30 seconds to get rid of the things with a dirty towel as I walked up the stairs.

(How ridiculous is that!  I ignored those bunnies so long they hopped down the stairs and were all over the downstairs.  Those bunnies made baby bunnies.  It felt so good to just throw them all in the washer.  Hmmm… where did they go?  Do you think dust bunnies eat socks?)

Crossing those off my list felt amazing.

I’m not a big list maker.  Lists tend to overwhelm me because I make them too long.  But picking five things… I can do that.

It made me feel in control.

It made me feel less overwhelmed.

I could feel my background anger level drop down a bit with each checkmark.

(We’ll come back to this statement.  It’s a big one.)

I have a challenge for you.

Your turn:  Grab a yellow highlighter and find five things you can fix today.  Commit to get them handled.  Even if you have to add five things to the bottom of your list, this is so worth it!

If you can’t commit to five, try for three.  If you can’t commit to three, aim for one.

If you can’t commit to one, then write “make a list of angry thoughts” at the bottom of the page and then cross it off.  See?  Better.

i write things down after i do them

Leave me a comment with your five things.  I want to celebrate with you!

This isn’t my whole list, but it is a representative sample.

my list of little angries first things first

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Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

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Comments

  1. The last item on your list stuck out at me. I joined Flylady.net for a year. Reading the testimonies really helped lower my perfectionism (and create routines). I still have to reminds myself not to try to have a perfect house, but FlyLady definately helped.

    I did make a list, but most of my items were basically “I don’t like anything that gets in the way of accomplishing my goal.” Not sure how to deal with that…. 🙂

    • Paige – I’ve done Flylady off and on for YEARS. There are times when those testimonials are a huge help for me. Given the state of my house, I need to get back on the plan.

      I have some “don’t get between me and my goal” things on my list too. The lack of doorknobs is in the way of several of my goals and REALLY starting to tick me off. When I made my list, I got SEVERAL lessons from it. Because of the nature of blogging, there was no way for me to share them all in one post. Instead, I turned each lesson into a different post.
      Monday (this post) is about finding a few simple things to check off your list (and how silly it is to be angry for weeks about something it takes 30 seconds to fix).
      Tuesday is about the stuff that we do to ourselves. It’s about how making poor choices last week causes results that anger us today.
      Wednesday is about satisfaction. I’m angry I don’t have new shoes.
      Thursday is about goals – your question.
      Friday is about margin… and stress… it’s about how killing the dust bunnies on Monday helps me not yell at my kids on Tuesday.
      See? It won’t all fit in a single post. 🙂

      • Yes, I can see that it won’t all for in one post. Grin. Thanks a lot. I am enjoying the series!

        And the state of my house? Um, it hadn’t been mopped in months. I’ve studied Time Management all my life… And what I’ve learned is that there is not enough time in my day to do anything extra (like cleaning). So I don’t. Now that it is off my to-do list, I’m ok. It no longer HAS to be done (in my mind), so I don’t stress out about not having the time.
        I’m really looking forward to your post on margin. (I don’t have any) (I hate it) (I have no idea what to do about it) 🙂

        • Wait… I’m supposed to mop???? Seriously? 🙂

          I’m glad you’re enjoying the series. I’m amazed at how much I have to say on a topic I was initially reluctant to write about. It’s proving fun to write, even when it steps on my toes.

          I have more books on time management and home organization than I care to admit.

  2. I’ve washed all the dishes (only to have twice as many as what I started with since I baked cupcakes.)
    I got some blog posts done.
    I’ve got to do some blog hopping today.
    I’ve gotten some of my email inbox cleaned out.
    My kids managed to get three days of school work done today.

    • You did good!
      Yesterday, my big accomplishment was seeing the floor in the laundry room. I almost took a picture.
      Today: putting away laundry, dealing with a tire, cat litter, ordering a new bra, and cleaning out some email.
      I live such an exciting life (not).

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