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Just One Thing April 5, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Health & Wellness, Life Balance, Mindfulness.

RWS_Tarot_01_MagicianYesterday, I cleaned up around my desk, sorting and filing papers and updating my To Do list.

Looking over the list, I noticed that there are many non-urgent issues that I’ve been meaning to do for some time.

Because they aren’t pressing matters with deadlines and time frames to adhere to, they coast from day to day, never getting crossed off the list.

Having so many tasks undone adds to my daily stress.

I’ve decided it’s time to do something about my To Do list.

Rather than trying to tackle it all at once, which is exhausting to even think about, I’m going to do Just One Thing each day until I’ve crossed all the ancient To Do items off the list.

Each morning, I shall pick Just One Thing off my To Do list and Just Do It.

Wish me luck!

No rules.  Just write.

What about you?

Do you have any loose ends lying around waiting to be addressed?  Letters to write?  Appointments to schedule?  Doctors to visit?

Wanna join me?

Related:  Eat The FROG First *  I feel G~O~O~D! * Just ONE Thing Challenge


1. CMSmith - April 5, 2011

Good luck. It must be spring. I’m trying to catch up on some projects that have been hanging around for a while too. My approach is a little different. I decided to allocate my day into segments: 3 hours for writing/blogging/editing manuscript; 1 hour for outside gardening work; 2 hours for housework (to include spring cleaning items, etc. The big etc is where I get to behave as I normally do.

Let me know how it works out.

nrhatch - April 5, 2011

Thanks, Christine. I’m pretty good about keeping up with “the etc.” ~ especially the stuff with deadlines attached.

But when I don’t want to do something that doesn’t have to be done right away, it sits on the list. I’m tired of having those items staring me in the face everytime I look at the list. So I’ll just start whittling away at them until their “jeering faces” are gone. 😛

Happy Spring Cleaning and Gardening. 😀

2. Cindy - April 5, 2011

Mine is endless, I’ll join you when I have met my latest deadline …

nrhatch - April 5, 2011

I don’t expect to eliminate the To Do list anytime soon . . . just these items that have been hanging around on the list forever.

3. barb19 - April 5, 2011

It’s the only way to get through stuff – one thing at a time. When completed, go onto the next one!

nrhatch - April 5, 2011

I expect that some days, doing one will fuel me to do another. But that’s not the deal I’m making with myself. For these OLD stale items . . . once I do one, I’m done.

4. Piglet in Portugal - April 5, 2011

I think I will show your post to Mr Piglet…his “to do list” is endless but he tries to everything in one day.

One thing for sure if it’s not done today it will still be there tomorrow, that unfortunately has become my philosphy. 🙂 I like your idea…but if you are only doing one thing a day…can you add to your list or are you starting a new one?
Good luck

nrhatch - April 5, 2011

My goal is to cross off antiquated stuff that’s been on the list for 3-12 months. 😳

I’ll keep adding things to the list (so I don’t forget things) and doing things that have deadlines attached (e.g. paying bills).

The goal is not to completely empty out my In Box . . . our In Box won’t ever be EMPTY. But I want to motivate myself to take action on the stuff that’s been hanging around the recesses of my mind for far too long.

Here goes . . .

PiP - April 5, 2011

The recesses of my mind are full of cobwebs…but we won’t go there 🙂

nrhatch - April 5, 2011

Yes. I want to get rid of some of the cobwebs just sitting around and gathering dust. 😉

5. Andy - April 5, 2011

I’ve taken the easy way out of the “to do list” & delegated it to my wife!

nrhatch - April 5, 2011

Excellent plan! Delegation works great unless and until the delegee decides to drop the ball.

6. 1959duke - April 5, 2011

I’m a married man. I will never get my to do list done!

nrhatch - April 5, 2011

😀 Same here ~ I’m not expecting to eliminate a To Do list . . . just address the STALE items that have been on it the last 6 times I’ve re-written it.

7. Debra - April 5, 2011

yes time for ‘To Do’ lists 🙂

Mine is being revamped too. I am first…taking things off that really do not matter to me anymore. Next, i am looking to see if I can afford to have some one else to…(remodel my kitchen). Then when that is done…I will have items that matter and that I can seriously do.)

A WIP = A work in progress. Thus, progress is made on a more comfortable rate.:)

good post thanks for the reminder!

nrhatch - April 5, 2011

Good point, Debra ~ it is important to consider taking things off that do not matter anymore.

Sometimes we have NOT taken action because we realize that action need not be taken. But we keep it on the list just in case we change our mind.

Good luck with your To Do and your To Be lists. 😎

8. carldagostino - April 5, 2011

Yes, get the MUST dos done and maybe that “yeah I gotta get this done” list can be an extra task to complete if the stamina’s still there.Or set aside a day for “get all the rest” done. It helps if there is a family member competent to handle some of the workload so you can at least cross off some things at the bottom of the list.

nrhatch - April 5, 2011

I probably could do most of the stale items in a day or a weekend . . . but it would be the WORST day or weekend of my life. 😀

And since they aren’t urgent, I’ll just bite one nasty little FROG a day until they are gone.

9. oldancestor - April 5, 2011

With Mrs OA around, I don’t need a to-do list. She is not shy about making sure such a list never has time to form.

nrhatch - April 5, 2011

I bet Mrs. OA keeps you on your toes. (And keeps snakes out of the house.) 😀

10. Maggie - April 5, 2011

That’s what happens to me… things keep getting postponed and postponed until finally I get tired of seeing them on the to-do list and just do them!

nrhatch - April 5, 2011

That’s how I feel right now, Maggie. I’m just tired of seeing them staring back at me.

I rarely procrastinate on things that MUST BE DONE by a certain deadline. But things that can be rolled over are rolled over and over and over. 😀

11. viewfromtheside - April 5, 2011

that sort of resolution usually only lasts 1 day for me, then weeks later i have to start again

nrhatch - April 5, 2011

That’s why I didn’t resolve to cross everything off the list in a day or a week or a month. Just One Thing a day is manageable and empowering.

BTW: I did my One Thing today ~ I wrote a 10 page letter to my parents with information about Freedom Village (the retirement community I want them to move to that’s located just 5 minutes away from us). 😀

12. estherlou - April 5, 2011

My to do list would be so massive, it would be scary, and then each day there would be something to add to it. It would be never-ending and quite overwhelming. How do you get past that?

nrhatch - April 5, 2011

I only put things on the list that might otherwise slip my mind.

If there is a physical representation to spur my memory, like a bill to submit to the insurance company, I don’t actually write it on the list.

So my To Do list is both an actual list and my In Box of items that need to be filed or acted upon.

I also have some FUN THINGS on the To Do list ~ movies and books I want to enjoy, recipes I want to try, etc. Those, of course, tend to get crossed off quickly because I WANT to do them. 😀

13. Naomi - April 5, 2011

Right with you, Nancy! Are you sure you weren’t sneaking a peek at my to-do list?

nrhatch - April 5, 2011

We all have To Do’s to do, eh? 😀

Even doing Just One Thing this morning made me feel much better about the list. I’ll keep chipping and nibbling away at the older entries until they are GONE.

14. Amy @ Soul Dipper - April 5, 2011

*Peeking at Nancy’s STALE list:
– Call Pest Control.
– Find recipe to use up cooked cabbage.
– Call Bank to see who deposited 10 grand in Nov.
– Volunteer for assisting Pres. of Res. Assoc.
Oh oh, she just filed the list under “Whenever”*

nrhatch - April 5, 2011

Recipe for cooked cabbage ~ Colcannon!

Wow! Thank the Universe for a windfall of $10K. 😉

15. Greg Camp - April 5, 2011

As an English instructor, writer trying to be paid for it, and partner in a relationship, my To Do list is never empty. Ah, but I have no excuse for being bored.

nrhatch - April 5, 2011

I don’t include writing ideas on my To Do list ~ they’re on my CREATIVITY CHART. 🙂

16. Pseu - April 5, 2011

Currently on my to do list:

cook supper

I’ll start again tomorrow 🙂

nrhatch - April 5, 2011

Sounds like you need some more sleep after your day yesterday and dreams last night.

17. Tilly Bud - April 5, 2011

I love job lists and I love crossing things off. But they do make me feel guilty if I haven’t done something for a while. I also do that one small job a day thing when it gets long.

Good luck with it!

nrhatch - April 5, 2011

I love crossing stuff off my lists. Sometimes I add stuff to the list when I’m halfway through the job . . . just so I can cross it off when I’m done.

I get a feeling of empowerment from striking through completed tasks. 😉

Sandra Bell Kirchman - April 6, 2011

You just made me laugh out loud. I am the same way. I have even been known to complete a job, realize it wasn’t on my To-Do list, then put it on just so I could have the fun of crossing it off.

I guess it’s important to reward ourselves somehow.

nrhatch - April 6, 2011

Yes, indeed. 😀

18. Carol Ann Hoel - April 5, 2011

You’ll get it all finished, Nancy. I like the to-do list because it works. I like to prioritize and plan the time slots, always subject to revision, of course. A to-do list with a plan takes the stress away for me, because I know it’s doable. I can see it in black and white. Great post, Nancy.

nrhatch - April 5, 2011

Thanks, Carol Ann. I feel better knowing that I’m going to tackle One Thing each day until the OLD stuff is no longer hanging around undone.

19. jelillie - April 5, 2011

I am looking at my office closet and my upper hopper as I write. One thing a day huh? This ought to be a journey…. I’m with you.

nrhatch - April 5, 2011

Cool. Some things don’t need to get done NOW, but we would benefit from completing them ~ e.g., cleaning out closets and drawers, and sorting through our hoppers. 😀

20. Tokeloshe - April 5, 2011

I love making new lists from my old lists, then I can cross off items from my old list 😉

Good luck!

nrhatch - April 5, 2011

Me too! And once the new list is prepared, I like shredding the old one. Very satisfying.

21. Rosa - April 5, 2011

I just did the same thing! But it wasn’t just lists, it had become piles too! I had a sewing pile as tall as I am! It had started to stress me out that I was never getting to it, so I re-evaluated the other day. It is now a pile of about 4 items! Turns out, I didn’t even really Care about most of the items I thought I needed to sew! What a relief!

nrhatch - April 5, 2011

Sometimes procrastination pays off because our priorities change. 😉

I expect that a few items on my list will just be eliminated from the list after re-evaluation.

Glad that your sewing mountain is now a hill.

22. Penny - April 5, 2011

Good Luck, as my TO DO list goes on and on, and keeps growing !!! If you find a secret in finding success with this chore-pease share !!! 🙂

nrhatch - April 5, 2011

Will do. I expect that Just One Thing will whittle my list down quite a bit ~ 30 things done in a month.

23. viviankirkfield - April 5, 2011

I am a great believer in To DO lists…otherwise, everything I need to do gets jumbled in my head and it is SOOOO stressful. However, you are right about a TO DO list becoming stressful also…I sometimes write so many things on it that it is self-defeating…no one could accomplish it all in one day…or even in one weekend.
I would love to join you in the Just One Thing.
Sometimes, when you have deadlines that are far out…you put them off until it is not far out anymore…that is also stressful.

And, to be honest, trying to keep up with the daily blogging (which I haven’t been in the last 2 weeks due to travel) and reading and commenting on other blogs…it can get overwhelming. But then again, what would have happened if I didn’t read your post today…I would have missed something that really resonated with me. 🙂
Thanks, Nancy, for a wonderful post!

nrhatch - April 5, 2011

I try to keep my list manageable by only putting on it what might slip my mind. And the problem areas, for me, are things with no deadline or no immediate need. They tend to just sit. Those are the ones that I am trying to clear “off the decks.”

I hope by the end of the month to have made great headway, without impacting my enjoyment of life ~ the idea of putting life on hold to tackle non-essential To Do’s is just not appealing.

Glad it resonated, Vivian. Here’s to our continued enjoyment of the journey.

24. jannatwrites - April 6, 2011

Good luck, Nancy! Shrinking that list will feel great 🙂

It’s funny, because I have several things I’ve been procrastinating about and have *almost* nagged myself to the point of at least one getting done this week. (I delegated another to my husband, so now we’ve got an appointment scheduled for our air conditioner maintenance.)

I have some work I want to get done on the house and I need to research contractors – that one will be put off a bit longer because it’s too overwhelming 🙂

nrhatch - April 6, 2011

Yup. That’s the kind of thing on my list that just sits there ~ it “should” be done, but there is no urgency to getting it done.

And no immediate gratification. Even if you find the perfect contractor, you won’t enjoy his work for months.

Maybe you could do Just One Contractor a day? 😉

25. adeeyoyo - April 6, 2011

I wish you the very best of luck in this, Nancy. My list is endless… and, you’re right, it does add to stress. Dreadful to feel as if one’s drowning!

nrhatch - April 6, 2011

Thanks, Denise. Doing Just One Thing yesterday made me feel better ~ and because I knew I wasn’t going to try to cross 6 things off the list, I took my time instead of trying to race through it.

Just One Thing may be just the thing I need.

26. libraryscene - April 6, 2011

I get stressed just thinking about ’em all…right now, I’m stressing because sleep is always on the proverbial list (I hate list-they stress me ;)), but I’m not real good at making it a priority. Now, I’ve said hello and caught up, I be off to lalaland. Just do it, indeed!

nrhatch - April 6, 2011

Sweet Dreams. I try to get enough sleep each night because it makes such a difference in my day if I’m well rested.

27. granny1947 - April 6, 2011

Wouldn’t it be easier to just throw away the to do list????

nrhatch - April 6, 2011

Now, why didn’t I think of that? 😉

28. flyinggma - April 6, 2011

Sounds like an excellent idea but I think I’m more in favor of granny1947’s idea of just throwing the list away but some things on my list do need to get done like pay bills…Sending blessings your way, Jeanne

nrhatch - April 6, 2011

I gave Granny’s suggestion consideration. 😉

29. Julie - April 6, 2011

We all have things on our to-do list that grow cobwebs. You might also consider eliminating some of the antiquated ones. Maybe they didn’t need to be done after all if it’s gone this long. 🙂

nrhatch - April 6, 2011

Some of them will probably be deleted after consideration. Others will be completed. Either way . . . they will be crossed off. 😀

30. Booksphotographsandartwork - April 6, 2011

Good luck!! If anyone can do it you can.

nrhatch - April 6, 2011

Thanks, Linda.

Today, my Just One Thing was the taxes! They. Are. Done. But I think they should count as MORE than Just One Thing. 😛

31. Patty - April 6, 2011

I wish you the best in your quest. It is always good to set forth a plan of being disciplined. Small amounts of it help us check off items on that long to do list. I have a very long list too. I used to be dogged at getting it all done. I’m a little older and not quite the energy but I’m still plugging away. 🙂

nrhatch - April 6, 2011

Thanks, Patty.

I’m quite good at getting most things done ~ especially if they have a built in deadline. But these niggling items have been gathering dust for months. Time to get ’em done.

I hear you about the flagging energy levels ~ I am more careful of priorities now because I know that my energy is more limited than in my 20’s and 30’s.

32. eof737 - April 7, 2011

You have my best wishes and more… go to it! 8)

nrhatch - April 7, 2011

Thanks, Eliz. A “nibble” each day keeps the piles at bay. 😛

33. nrhatch - April 7, 2011

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