Balance. It Was Not on the List! By: Joanne Reuss-Kirtley
Life can be overwhelming and exhausting. There, I said it. I’m sure anyone reading this has thought the same at least once or twice. If you are like me, you might even think it hourly. The list of things to do and focus on in my brain is so long I need lists to remember the lists: categorized, bulleted, sub-categorized, color coded, and in order of importance – thorough lists. Those lists will make it better, right? Those lists will make me feel safe and secure, won’t they? Those super lists will make all of this exhaustion go away and make my universe super productive. I just know it.
Every night before I go to bed I look at my lists. Every day I wake up and look at my lists.
- I add to the lists.
- Re-arrange the lists.
- I make lists for others and then another list to keep track of the lists I delegated.
- Chore lists with corresponding days and rotations.
- Shared calendar lists.
- Lists for the present.
- Lists for the future.
- Lists for each family member broken down by health, finance, fun and relaxation.
- Lists for employees.
- Lists for both businesses.
- Lists of what color “ewws” were in my children’s diapers.
You’d think my world was the picture of efficiency. Yet in the past week we’ve missed 3 doctor appointments, 2 jobs, run out of diapers and my house looks like 7 tornadoes hit it.
On my fridge is this beautiful grocery list. I designed it to be aesthetically pleasing to encourage my family members to use it. It’s there for anyone in the family to write down what we need. When anyone uses the last of anything in the kitchen, all they have to do is walk right over to the fridge grab the attached velcro’d pencil (in case they need to erase) and write the item on the list. Those items are then transferred to my master grocery list on my iPad. I take the iPad list shopping with me once a week and gleefully cross off each item.
Yesterday morning I woke up and we were out of coffee. I panicked; full-fledged perspiring panic. I ran straight to the list on the fridge to see how I could make such an error. Coffee was not on the list on the fridge. Therefore coffee did not make it to the list on the iPad. Thus coffee did not get purchased at the store. This was an epic fail in my list system. I must re-calibrate.
Immediately, I called everyone into the kitchen for a review on how to use the “fridge list system.” “Whew”! Crisis averted. I felt better. I can now move on to my day. “Where did I put the fire engine red to-do list?” “Wait, it’s 2pm and I haven’t made any of my 9-11am phone calls or sent any of the emails I was supposed to send. I haven’t eaten breakfast. Wow, nor have I eaten lunch. Where are my children? How is this possible?” Consulting the lists. Combing the lists. – It’s all ON THE LIST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Time to kick it into high gear. “Stop being a slacker, Joanne. I need a cup of coffee. Oh wait. It wasn’t on the list.”
DING DING DING DING!!!!! “Stop, Joanne. Just stop.”
In the narrative above I have all of these important things on the lists. I also have something I “need” that never made it to any of the lists. I don’t understand. How did I fail at so much when I had such amazing lists? I wasted an entire day being unproductive. I felt defeated and overwhelmed and exhausted. Aren’t the lists designed to make me more efficient and productive? Life is exhausting. There, I said it again.
In my efforts to achieve productivity, keep up, do the right thing, better myself, be giving, loving, supportive, a good employee, a good spouse, a good parent, good pet owner, good driver, good cook, good example, good friend, good aunt, good steward, good citizen, healthy, intelligent, educated, funny, creative, inspiring, well-rounded, joyful spirited, I’ve become unbalanced and miserable. ***I*** did this. Me. Great, no coffee, no productivity AND an “aha” moment. This is spectacular.
I’m way out of balance. DING DING DING DING!!!!! “Stop, Joanne. Just stop.”
Drawing from the knowledge I received in The Journey Training I am able to identify the lack of balance. How do I get back into balance? Back to basics: I have the tools. I have the knowledge. I need to put it to use.
It’s probably obvious that my default personality loves details – lots of details and information. For the next week though, I will focus on one item from each of the “other” personalities.
- Take Action – Making lists does not produce forward momentum.
- Have fun – This rejuvenates my spirit and gets me out of my head.
- Be thankful – It’s perspective. An attitude of gratitude can work wonders.
Back to basics. I’m a free and fierce woman. I’m hopeful I will be able to write another piece on the progress I’ve made. Wish me luck!