Thursday, December 24, 2009

Thursday Thinking – My Top Ten List

Monica wrote a wonderful post here, a long, long time ago and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. When I am frazzled and feel like I’m trying to do too many things at once (yet without getting anything done) and any sense of priorities and time management have long since been thrown out the window, this idea of a daily checklist pops into my head. I know I need that sense of direction and some sort of guide for how to spend my time.

I had one of those days yesterday. Too much to do and too little time to do it all, and I seemed to be spending all my time and energy on trivial things. M wanted me to spend time with him, and all I could do was get irritated… with him and with myself. I wanted to spend some special time with M, but I also wanted (and needed) to do a dozen other things. I was running crazily around with the subtle feeling that I was, just maybe, making the wrong sacrifices in order to get less important things checked off of the to-do list.

I sat down at the kitchen table and finally just did it – wrote my daily top ten list – and it took me all of 5 minutes. 5 minutes of a little clearer vision and some listening to what my heart was trying to tell my brain. :)

Shortly after writing this, I sat down again and tried to place each item in order of importance. Things like tidying up and making a healthy dinner are not on the list, even though they are important to me, but these are things that are already built into my days and are habit and routine already.

Ready? Here it is…

1. Quiet time for prayer/reflection/Bible – aim for both morning and evening, but at least morning. 10 minutes minimum, most days I should be able to spend a good 20 minutes at a time though.

2. Meaningful time with my husband. Connecting with him and paying attention to him and even (gasp!) doing something nice just for him each day. I have to admit I find it easy to put him last.

3. Morning prayer with M – something short, but to get us both off on the right foot together first thing. And, to raise an awareness in him of the importance of this. We used to do this at breakfast, but lately we’ve gotten out of the habit as M isn’t hungry early on and when he’s ready to eat we just say a quick grace, nothing more (I eat much earlier).

4. Spend 20 minutes, minimum, reading books with M, preferably while cuddling. Books at bedtime don’t count towards this.

5. Spend 20 minutes playing with M, doing something he wants to do. (Most likely this will be tot school activities, since this is what he loves to do together, but I will not push it… it’s too easy to make that more important than it should be for a 3 year old).

6. Ensure that housekeeping chores on the list for the day are done.

7. Rest/quiet time for M (and probably me) each afternoon – at least 30 minutes.

8. Some sort of art, craft, or sensory activity every day.

9. Music time – anything simple – putting on a favorite cd and playing a game or dancing, learning a new song, playing with our instruments, etc.

10. Outside time if weather permits.

Number 10 will be a higher priority in spring. In Minnesota it just isn’t always possible to go out in the winter… my cut off is 30 degrees, which is actually pretty warm by MN standards. I know kids at school go out in much colder weather. I don’t like to be cold, I’d prefer to hibernate to tell you the truth. ;)

Many of these will be accomplished in the regular course of our day… if we go out and play in the snow, that’s outside time, sensory time, and play time together all in one. And the Art Box will normally take care of number 8. I just like having them written down so I have hard evidence of what’s important to me and a guide for how to best manage my time each day.

And, just so you know, I DO spend time with M each day, usually several stretches of time throughout the day, but it’s hard for me to put that first. I always think I’ll play with him after I get something important done. Having it written down is a reminder that it really is more important than a lot of the other things. And, I’m trying to remember what Maryanne pointed out in this awesome post of hers… that spending time with your child early on in the day makes it easier for them to spend time on their own later. They need that attention and affection from us, and it’s hard for them to do much without us if that need hasn’t been met.

And, as a side note, you can see blogging didn’t make the list at all. As much as I enjoy it, it could become a full-time job if I let it, and that’s not what I want, not to mention not what’s best for my family! However, I’m pretty sure I’ll still find time for it (obviously I did today!). :)

I also have a list of priorities for each week (which I’ve had for years, updating it occasionally)– what needs to be done at home, a meal plan, activities outside of home, errands, etc. I plan to post about this sometime soon. A new year around the corner is always a good time to think about these things!

I’d love to hear what your daily top ten consists of!!

Have a beautiful Christmas Eve! :)


  1. I look forward to your next list! Merry Christmas!

    PS I just made baby Jesus for the manger last night. Whew!

  2. Something to think about for sure! I need to sit down and make a list like this! thanks for sharing and inspiring!

  3. Great idea to put my daily priorities down on paper. I can relate to a lot of what you said. Thanks for sharing!

  4. What a wonderful list. I'm thinking of spending the drive to visit the in-laws thinking through what I'd like to accomplish in the near future.

  5. Love your list. My top ten are exactly the same. No joke. I have let my personal quiet time and Bible reading go down the drain since I had the kids. I have totally let blogging take over some days (the kids didn't get neglected by the blog, but my husband sure did!) Thanks for writing this. Looking forward to reading the next one!

  6. "You know you are a very cool person when..." being mentioned in someone else's blog makes you excited! ;)

    I hope that you have a wonderful Christmas together as a family. I think I had read in one of your posts about the struggles you faced before having Matthew. It is such a cliche, but it does seem that our struggles give us grateful hearts. We have been blessed with our children, but both of my deliveries were c-sections (the first was quite harrowing) and as much as I'd like to follow in some of my Irish Catholic relatives' paths, we may not be able to have a large family. But I am so grateful for the family we have.

    We're at home this Christmas; partly because we're all a little under the weather, and partly because we want time with just our family. It's been wonderful!

  7. Similar ideas have been scrambling about in my mind for sometime and I know that I need to right them down, if only to settle my priorities in the right order for my family and kiddos - thanks so much for the inspiration! Have a beautiful Christmas!

  8. Oh jeepers, but my writing is horrible - just a bit crazy with Christmas preparations! Better write that list before all coherency flies the coop!

  9. Great idea to make a list! I shall do that as well! Thanks for sharing! Have a wonderful holiday!

  10. This is a really nice idea, and the perfect time of year to do it. I wonder if I should come up with one. I have been experimenting this December with a different kind of list. I've made a list of 31 things that need to be accomplished this month, and each day I choose one and do it. I'm a little behind, but I think it is definitely helping me to get more organized/cleaner around here. We had a lot of unpacking to finish and catching up to do on household stuff. My trick has been to keep the tasks small so I really get them done. I'm going to try to carry it through the year, with a new list every month.

  11. I like your idea of top 10. Obviously, as a working mom, I have a different list, and time for blogging would make my top 10 :) My struggle is finding time for myself in the midst of other obligations. Here is to the hope that we will make it happen.

  12. I'm so honored to be mentioned in this excellent post! I really like your top ten list for the day, I think my list would be quite similar but I'll have to give it some thought. Thanks for this idea, I make mental lists but I think having it written out makes it that much more likely to happen every single day.


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