The Art of {Completion}

Do you ever feel like you have a never-ending to-do list which feels impossible to complete?  

I find myself looking forward to the day I can sit down with everything in place.  My to-do list done. Projects on track. The house clean. Cupboards stocked. Wardrobe organised.  Everything ready to for the next day. Everything complete. Wine in hand. Food in belly. Bliss. Finally able to fully switch off and relax.

But alas that’s not how life works.  Food gets eaten. Houses get dirty. Children need attention.  It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed in the endless need to keep on top of everything.  Something which can affect both adults and children alike – from parental guilt of never doing or giving enough to children feeling overwhelmed by endless projects and social anxiety.  

For many tasks completion in its simplest term is near enough impossible.  But re-defined it can become empowering. You will never ‘complete’ housework.  However, by sticking to a schedule {such as TOMM} you can rethink your definition of completion and tick that endless job off your list.  YOU can decide what ‘completed’ looks like. For example – if I put a clothes wash on every weekday morning then that job is completed.

I’m a typical to-do list writer and thrive off ticking things off but with that I am also guilty of being highly skilled at the art of procrastination and spend more time writing lists than completing them  I also tend to have lists everywhere; on my phone, in notebooks, on scraps of paper, in my diary and on Alexa. Alas my attempt at being organised suddenly becomes a contradiction in terms and very little, if anything at all, gets done.  

Whilst clearing out our office space I found an array of lists which I piled up with a plan to condense into one.  I kid you not, some of these lists contained the same repeated items from over two years {or more} ago which STILL haven’t been ‘completed’.  I realised that these things are either a) no longer necessary/a priority b) too big a project that need breaking down into manageable chunks or c) ongoing activities which don’t have an obvious endpoint .  For example one of the things which regularly featured on my geriatric lists was ‘sort the garage’.

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{Exhibit A}

Our garage has a door into the house which makes it a prime place to dump stuff and can easily build up a mass of all sorts of rubbish interspersed with useful items which have gone MIA (see exhibit A >>>}.  To this day the garage remains to be sorted and therefore it continues to be on my to-do list. But what does sorted look like? What does completion look like? In my idealistic mind I envisage a Pinterest perfect set-up cleverly organised and accessible. Is this likely to happen? Is it a priority? How committed are we to getting {and keeping} it organised? Are we content with a vaguely organised garage  or can it be pushed to the Spring when the kids are in daycare and we can tackle it properly?

My view on this example is that yes I do want to organise the garage, no it probably won’t look Pinterest perfect and yes I expect it will continue to be used as a convenient dumping ground but having started the Konmari Method on the rest of the house I feel like I’m in a good mindset to Marie Kondo the crap out of it 😉  then stay on top of the chaos using the TOMM.  So my plans is to to a) move ‘sort garage’ to a project list and set aside some time probably in the spring to have a proper sort out using the Konmari Method then b) add ‘quick tidy of garage’ to my weekly TOMM, probably on a Wednesday to tie in with the entrance and hallway cleaning.  That way, once the initial clear out has been done, and by ensuring it has a regular tidy up I can be satisfied the job has been ‘completed’ and it will no longer haunt my to-do list 🙂

Other ideas when it comes to windling down that never-ending to-do list:

  • Create a weekly or daily braindump and from it a comprehensive list for immediate/priority jobs – Some days {especially if I’m tired} I like to write down a really extensive to do list even down to getting dressed. Which may, or may not, get completed 😉 but I also know that I don’t need to add things like washing to my to-do list as it’s part of my usual daily tasks anyway making the things that are on their more prominent
  • At the end of the day/week review your list and anything left either gets moved or ditched {be ruthless}
  • Separate larger, non-priority jobs onto a project list which can be done as a sort of hobby, like sorting out your photo collection
  • Allocate deadlines or timescales.  Then if, for example, you haven’t listed those clothes on eBay by the end of the month resolve to take them to the charity shop
  • Factor in help/support – get the kids involved – if I sort and fold the washing they can put it away or they can make their own beds every morning.  
  • ‘Just do it mentality’.  Some jobs just need to be done and got out the way.  
  • Top 3 tasks – Prioritise, prioritise, prioritise
  • Limit the number of places you log your lists – I may use my phone or Alexa for shopping lists but I use one notepad for daily tasks. Reminders are kept in my diary.
  • Book it in.  Want to decorate the bathroom but never seem to get around to it?  Send the kids to your parents/friends for the afternoon and book it into the diary
  • My old favourite – delegate!

And remember to be realistic.  If a job has been on your to-do or project list for a long time chances are it has become irrelevant and can be ditched. Maybe now isn’t the right time for particular tasks.  Just started a new job? Have a young baby? Take the pressure off yourself and ditch non-priority tasks. If something is that important it will come up again later when the time is right.  

By creating little routines or a plan of action hopefully you will feel the satisfying sense of completion, life will become a little less stressful and everyone will benefit from a new found sense of harmony in your home.  Sitting down with that glass of wine, having a hot bath or spending more time with your kids guilt free. Whatever your completion looks like, relax and enjoy it!

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