For my whole adult life, I have actively avoided to-do lists. The gratification of crossing small things off a list can mask that fact that my life lacks direction and purpose. Lists keep people up at night and cause unnecessary anxiety. That's how people end up telling friends that they can't meet with them because it's their laundry day. And they mean it. Stephen Covey articulated it well when he said that time management should revolve around our roles. People are more important than things. I should focus on serving the people in my life and do housekeeping in between.
The problem is that I feel like a goldfish sometimes. I'd go downstairs to get something and by the time I got down there, I forgot what I was looking for. My failing memory has made it necessary to write things down. It started with post-it notes. Steve would call and ask me to do something and immediately I'd have to jot it down and stick it to the desk. This gave me the empty pleasure of ripping it off, crumpling it up, and throwing it in the waste basket when it was done as if I had accomplished something significant. After decorating my desk with confetti for a few months, I realized the need for a calendar to keep my head straight. Now, all my appointments and playgroups are listed neatly in chronological order in my little green book. Each page has a little empty space where I can write down some long-term goals so that my time management doesn't descend into a list of appointments and errands. Now I enjoy seeing the empty days, knowing that they are the most valuable because I can spend time just hanging out and being a mom.