Making Lists for Productivity and Joy by Kim Anton

breastfeeding tops

Being ready for anything is a requirement of motherhood and the more well prepared you are to roll with the punches the better. We all have an emergency list for our little ones. We wouldn't think of leaving baby with a sitter or loved one without it. But listing things for ourselves seems superfluous. We're in charge! We know what needs to be done.

Having a second baby after 10 years and with a 10 year olds schedule to manuver; I found I had so much to do, but when my little one finally closed her eyes for the long awaited nap, I was stupefied as to what to do first! Call it horomones or just being overwhelmed. Nothing was happening! I started to make a list and a world of productivity and peace was unleashed. The act of writing down what I wanted to happen was a catalyst for making just that thing happen.

Lists have been my saving grace. Want to get stuff done around the house? Make a list. Want to remember the drycleaning? Make a list. Want to lose 12 pounds? You got it! List! Making lists is a great way to arm yourself for anything from 911 calls to 911 diapers!

Having a running list of everything you'd like to do and have to do and want someone else to do, can be overwhelming, so it is important to catagorize and have separate lists for separate items. I'm all for being green, but while your baby or toddler is taking up most of your time and energy, get those lists down any way you can. Most mobile phones have an application for notes and post-its take up little space in the landfill and are recyclable. Whatever you use, make sure your list is accesible and you can mark off what is done. As a self proclaimed list monger, I have to tell you, nothing feels better than the crossing off part!

Not sure where to begin? Here are 5 lists that are indespensible for the new mom:

Have To's:
This is the list of emergency things that won't wait. It should be updated everyday. These are things that are urgent like, calling a plumber to fix a leak, watering the dry patch on the lawn or making important phone calls. It is the most important list to have when Jr naps. If your lists has a lot of errands on it, as in buy something to cook for hubby's boss tonight or the dry cleaners is going to sell the laundry I haven't picked up today, use this list to set yourself up. List, call a babysitter or pack up to go at a time when your little bundle is in a good mood. i.e. right after nap and milk. As soon as baby goes down this list should be picked up.

Should Do's:
These are things that need to be done, eventually so they don't land in the bottom of the diaper bag, figuratively or in reality, these may not happen until Jr. is in college unless they are on a list. This list can be updated weekly. Lightbulbs that need changing, papers that need filing, calling "the guy" to fix the roof. These are things that need to be done and it can be unnerving to notice them every day without progress. Gettting "Should do's" done are important to your mental health. Try to do at least one a week.

Want To's:
This is my favorite list! Make sure you keep it long and varied. Look at it and update it constantly! At least once a day. List everything, from losing weight to going to Paris. You may want to keep more than one according to how much time you have. 5 minutes - eat a delicious piece of chocolate. 1 hour - do some scrap booking, Within 5 years - climb Mt. Kilimajaro, Within 10 years - get a Masters Degree etc. These lists are very important! Leave nothing off and make sure you have lots of little things that keep you happy in short periods of time. I like bubble baths and coffee for my quickies. Writing and working out for 1/2 hour or more. Nothing prepares a new mom for the 24/7 of motherhood, and lovely as it is, it's a good idea to treat yourself a little everyday. It's a good way to get your needs met regularly, and when the baby leaves the nest, you can recycle this into your bucket list!

Honey Do's:
This is the list you keep for your partner, significant other or the handyman that you are going to need once you figure out your "should do's". Make sure it is pretty full before you present it. If you are asking your partner, remember he/she is probably overwhelmed as well and will need to know what to expect so he/she can manage time accordingly If you are hiring someone, they usually charge by the hour. You only want them around once every couple of months. So have that list ready!

Probably the most important list you will ever make is the one of gratitude. This list can include roses, Brad Pitt (even if you aren't Angelina), sushi, sunsets, The Real Housewives or Orange County or liverworst. Nothing is too small, shallow, sweet or insignificant. List no less than 10 things a day that you are grateful for. This list should be updated everyday. I like to do it before bed, the first time, before I've been awakened for the night feeding. Making this list will remind you everynight before you rest, how much you have and how precious this life is. I am always grateful for the health of my children the love of my husband and good coffee. On particularly trying days, I repeat these things and a few others that are significant.

It is important to remember these lists are for you. Modify the idea to fit your style and timeframe. When used correctly, they can add time and joy to your life.

Note: This article was originated on my "Want to's" list, and now it's done!

by Kim Anton