Wednesday, May 26, 2010

To Do or Not To Do - A Question

By Susan Gallacher-Turner

Do you make a 'to do' list? I do. But I've been wondering lately whether my 'to do' lists really help my work get done. Or whether it's just another thing 'to do'.

Thanks to Sister Mary Catherine, I've been making lists since the first grade. After many nights of bedtime panic because I'd forgotten to do my homework, Sister gave me a small notebook and told me to make a list of all my assignments. I took that book everywhere and wrote down every assignment from that day on. I didn't go to bed in a panic anymore as long as I had my notebook by my bed.

I am a very organized person. Lists have proved to be a very helpful tool. I'm not blaming Sister Mary Catherine, she was trying to help a struggling, fearful little girl. I've even taught my own children to use 'to do' lists.

But now, after many decades of using this tool, is this tool using me?

It started out as a way to be less fearful. But did it really make me less fearful? When I have project, a weekend off or vacation, I worry that I'm going to forget something so I make another list. Post a notes are everywhere in my house. Making a list has been the first thing I did every week and checking it off gave me a feeling of accomplishment.

Now, there's a part of me that wants to be free 'to do' whatever comes to mind. To create without an agenda, a schedule, a list of projects with sublists. After a few years filled with fear, loss and change, I want to be open to enjoying my life as it's happening with more ease and flow and grace.

So what did I do to help myself move into this new space?

Yup. I made a list. I didn't realize it at first. I just saw the post-its as colorful little flags, a way to make my intentions more concrete. But now I see that in an effort to get out from under my old fear-based behavior of making lists, I just made another series of lists.

Do you make lists? Does it help you get everything in your life done? Or is it a ball and chain that slows down your life and saps your creative energy? If you don't make lists, how do you remember to get everything done?

So the question...To Do or Not To Do? Can I live my life and get my work done without a list? What do you suggest? Let me know and I'll keep you all posted.
Send your comments to my other blog, Sculpting A Life. And if you'd like to see some of my sculpture stop by my website Susan Gallacher-Turner Sculpture.

By the way, you're on my list. :)

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