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October 2, 2020 4 mins

You don’t have to put everything on the to-do list

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:03):
Welcome to Before Breakfast, a production of I Heart Radio.
Good Morning. This is Laura. Welcome to the Before Breakfast podcast.
Today's tip is to not make life a chore. I
get that there are lots of chores we have to
do in our lives, but there is no value in

making chores out of activities we would cheerfully do anyway,
even if they weren't on our task lists. We can
keep these activities completely separate from our to do lists
if we'd like so. Lots of productive people, and I
am guessing that this includes most Before Breakfast listeners love
planning what they'll do when and tracking their accomplishments. This

can be great for getting a lot done efficiently. I
love prioritize task lists and done lists, or what Gretchen
Reuben calls toadal lists to note our accomplishments. There can
be a downside of tracking your two dos though. Sometimes
you can end up feeling like all you do is work,
whether on professional tasks or personal ones. If that sounds familiar,

consider whether you are making life a chore. Remember that
the purpose of task lists is to make sure that
you get done what you need to. Don't make things
into chores that would happen even if they weren't dictated
by the to do list. Instead, let them remain pleasures. So,
for instance, I rarely put runs or walks on my

to do list for the day. I love going outside
and exercising in the fresh air. I'm enjoying going for
walks with my older kids while they're on breaks from
their virtual school classes. I'm going to do this if
it is at all possible. So, while there's no real
harm in putting run and walk on my to do list,
doing so can wind up making my to do list

look long, which can be intimidating, so I tend to
leave these items off. If you love choosing great recipes
to make for dinner, you probably don't need to assign
yourself meal planning as a Thursday evening chore. It'll just
happen sometime or another when you're puttering around your kitchen
and feeling inspired. If you love giving gifts, the same

is probably true for holiday shopping, and sure, you may
need to look at your schedule to see when a
mall trip or online shopping session could happen, but by
gifts does not need to show up on your late
November task list. You'll do it without prodding, You'll do
it joyfully. Maybe you need to make a note for
some time in December to make sure you've chosen all
the gifts you need. But that's it. Let the pleasure

be the pleasure and only make a task at the
last step of the process. I know of a very
productive woman who labels a day on her calendar every
month or so free day. She considers that time spoken for,
enlists her support system for her normal have to dos,
and doesn't schedule anything, no appointments, no kid responsibilities. When

the free day arrives, she does whatever she desires with
only one restriction, no chores. I think she's onto something.
It's easy to feel driven to get things done and
cross them off our to do lists, and I'd say
that if we're feeling like we are never making time
for ourselves or never making time for fun, maybe sometimes
we do need to put fun stuff on our to

do lists. Doing so might nudge us to tap into
that same reservoir of drive that makes us get through
everything we set out to do. But sometimes it's okay
to let joys be joys. I don't assign myself to
read a chapter in a good book, I just do it.
We don't always need more to douse, so no need

to make something fun into a chore without a really
good reason. In the meantime, this is Laura. Thanks for listening,
and here's to making the most of our time. Hey, everybody,
I'd love to hear from you. You can send me

your tips, your questions, or anything else. Just connect with
me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram at Before Breakfast Pod
that's b E the number four, then breakfast p o D.
You can also shoot me an email at Before Breakfast
podcast at i heeart media dot com that Before Breakfast

is spelled out with all the letters. Thanks so much,
I look forward to staying in touch. Before Breakfast is
a production of I heart Radio. For more podcasts from
I heart Radio, visit the i heart Radio app, Apple Podcasts,
or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.

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Laura Vanderkam

Laura Vanderkam

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