Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Just Do the Next Thing

Last week I wrote about lists (here), and how I love them. Because I truly-duly-do. And I will probably always be a list girl. Though I tend to let my lists go for the summer. I only make one then if it is unavoidable.

One thing I wrote last week, was that sometimes my lists just give me the grace to let go.

In the past 12 days, I have been gone 8. Which wouldn't be so big a deal if it were one big trip. But it was two trips. To very different trips.

The first was my Influence blogging conference. All by myself. Posh hotel. Girlfriend time. Spiritually refreshing.

I got home Sunday afternoon, and we left for St. Louis on Friday morning. If it had been one long trip, I wouldn't have felt compelled to clean the house in-between, or do school, or any of regular life. But, because there was the 4 day gap, life went on as normal.

Pretty much. It was crazy busy! I don't know why, but it just was. And my lists were multiple, and full. Every day was crammed to the brim with stuff to do. Stuff for the week, plus my birthday, plus groceries, plus I am organizing a home school Art Day for Thursday and I had emails and calls to make about that. And paperwork to do. And blog posts to write.

I felt rather overwhelmed. And stressed.

So, I made my lists, and told myself over and over...

"Do the next thing."

Don't worry about the huge list(s). All you have to do is the next thing. And then-the next thing. And then-the next thing.

And just so I wouldn't forget this concept, I wrote it on my word of the week board. Every time I go to the bathroom, or switch a load of laundry or leave the house, I am reminded,

"Do the next thing."

Some have said it much better than I ever could...

Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.
Martin Luther King Jr.

Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.
Lao Tzu

What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step.
C.S. Lewis

Focused, hard work is the real key to success. Keep your eyes on the goal, and just keep taking the next step towards completing it. If you aren't sure which way to do something, do it both ways and see which works better.
John Carmack

If you're climbing the ladder of life, you go rung by rung, one step at a time. Don't look too far up, set your goals high but take one step at a time. Sometimes you don't think you're progressing until you step back and see how high you've really gone.
Donny Osmond

I find my lists very helpful in reminding me just what the next thing is. I always know what needs to happen, and a quick glance at the list keeps me on track and ready to go.

If you are overwhelmed by your list, I heard a great tip a few days ago. Next to each item, write the approximate time it will take you to do it. I.e. clean the upstairs bathroom-35 minutes. Be realistic, and over-estimate, rather than under-estimate. You can then add up the time your activities are going to take, and you have an idea if there are enough hours in the day, or not. Adjust your list accordingly, and leave in breathing time.

Well, my next thing is folding laundry. Bummer. What's your "next thing?"