When a Type A backs off the To-Do List



Photo Credit: A Pair of Pears

I’m a bit crazy about to-do lists. I have a variety of them in my life: work, home/family, personal, husband (yes, what I have to remind J to do. Don’t tell me you don’t have one for your husband. It’s necessary.) There are things you should know about a Type A. Including that I crave completion of tasks. It helps me feel purposeful. It’s not an illness; it’s a part of my make-up. And I’m proud of it. I am amazing at task accomplishment and organization! But, much like glitter, it can also be a hindrance when not properly contained. (Glitter is dangerous. We do not allow it in our house. And if you send me a card with glitter on it, I’m not going to read it. It’s going directly in my trash. I don’t need that stuff creeping on me for MONTHS after. Sorry to be harsh, y’all. There are just some things a girl’s gotta hold her own on.)

So three weeks ago I started this blog and really dove into my challenge to choose life over the to-do list. Now, I didn’t give up my to-do lists all-together. God made me a woman of to-do lists. He knows I need them to be at my best. But I recognized their power in my life over my relationship with God and others, so I backed off mine a bit (along with some paper-bag breaths due to a lack of things being accomplished). For the first week, this wasn’t too hard because we had a full calendar of fun things to do. I didn’t plan it this way, but it just happened we had dinner with friends a couple nights that first week and one really great night of family time complete with O swinging in the backyard and a walk in the stroller. And then, that weekend, it got even better: I got some work time in my garden early morning (task accomplishment but also hobby enjoyment). I agreed to go to a few garage sales with J (They are SO not my thing. I feel weird combing through people’s stuff right in front of them at their own house. Talk about gettin’ in your business). I even took a morning nap with O. I TOOK A NAP BEFORE NOON, y’all (insert jaw drop meme here). Then, J agreed to clean the garage with me – for two hours – on the most humid day we have had in Nebraska this summer. By Sunday night, I was feeling a perfect blend of relaxation and accomplishment. And J was happy too. He was very pleased with my ability to balance and meet the needs of everyone in our house that weekend.

Then Monday hit. I woke up with a stomach ache. I moved a bit slower to get us all out the house and onto our days, but my brain felt scattered. And it didn’t stop. All day long I couldn’t stop my brain from not focusing on everything. But all the things I needed to do were on the list. Usually I write things down and move on. But this week was different. It culminated in a visit to the doctor with a diagnosis of a stomach virus that is going around. Which led to me eating spaghettio’s (most people eat soup; I prefer pasta in tomato sauce, apparently) and binging on sleep and my new fav show The Newsroom. (And I don’t binge on TV, people. I don’t have time. I have to-do lists.) So just a little bug stopped me up short, right? WRONG.

You know what I think happened? Withdrawal. More specifically: to-do list withdrawal. I’m a to-do list addict. (Ok, truth be told: that statement half makes me laugh out loud, and half forces my eyes to dilate because I’m an ADDICT.) I didn’t get my typical, crazy, get-outta-my-way-I-got-things-to-do of a high, and my body and brain freaked out. And I was sick for 4 days! I didn’t figure it out until exactly 5 days after the whole withdrawal began. I went scattered and fell apart because I made a major change in my usual habits. I can only recall one other time I experienced withdrawal: the first time I had chai tea after having O. It had been over 12 months since drinking the stuff, and it didn’t hit me til day two of drinking it that the reason my hands were shaking was because of the caffeine. (I know you were hoping for a hard-core drug story there, but unfortunately I’m just not that exciting.)

Ok, so maybe I didn’t really have to-do list withdrawal. Maybe I just had a stomach bug. But what do you do when you so drastically change your life and lose a sense of who you are? You get a new definition of who you are. A better one. I’d like to think my choosing life over the to-do list is a positive thing. (Hello, Kristin, it is! You’re just struggling because of your current addict status). It will be a continuous struggle, but I’m excited for the mom, wife, co-worker, and overall person I can be when I have a healthy balance.

Lord, I’m realizing your control of my life, but I have to be willing to let go. Please encourage me to continue to choose life over the to-do list. Continue to provide people in my life that can help me be accountable when I’m losing a sense of balance. Thank you for the way you’ve designed me, and help me to never lose sense of who I am first – your child.

What’s your “addiction” that’s keeping you from living a fulfilling life? Have you told someone about it?

2 thoughts on “When a Type A backs off the To-Do List

  1. Maggie

    I’m glad you realize that this is part of your “make-up”. You most certainly do not need to change who you are. But it never hurts to enhance or improve upon oneself! This makes me realize my one “addiction” that I need to approve upon is less online time and more time spent on the crafts I love. When my baby goes to bed by 8PM I should fill my time positively instead of online shopping or watching reality TV drama. And instead of multi-tasking, I need to learn to enjoy one thing at a time. It will help me get pure enjoyment out of an activity, not just partial. So… if TV is my guilty pleasure, then I should focus on that for 30 minutes and then turn off the TV and move on to a craft I enjoy for the same amount of time. And when baby gets older, I’m sure he will appreciate a mom who does fun things like crafts instead of being focused on the TV or a to-do list. Time to change my habits!!! P.S. I am looking forward to picking out a card for you for the next upcoming holiday. My calendar is officially marked for a to-do in October: “Pick up Kristin a glittery Halloween card”


    1. kristinageton Post author

      I appreciate your honesty of your “addiction.” I’ll pray for your ability to focus on your hobbies – and for there there to nothing good on TV. 🙂
      And know that your glittery card will be in my trash. Don’t be a hater. 😉



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