Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A Daybook of Six Simple Things...

This sits just off our country dirt road about a quarter mile from our house.
I took this photo when I was out for my daily walk this morning.


I ran across a daybook I (sort of) kept last year and was browsing through it. I didn't write in it anywhere close to daily, but I did have a long stretch of time last summer when a little to-do list system I kept in the daybook helped me keep on track with daily chores and tasks. I've always been a list-maker. I love lists. I love crossing things off lists. This makes me sound more organized than I am, but nevertheless...

I remember last summer being slightly overwhelmed with the number of tasks that fell to me. I just wasn't getting it all done, and I was feeling so behind that I decided to greatly streamline my daily to-do lists. I started making very simple lists of just "Five Things" to do each day. These were the top five things I wanted to accomplish on a given day (the list was quite different every day), and if I did those things and nothing else, I'd be happy. It kept things simple and streamlined, and I loved doing this. Of course, on many days I did many more things than the five on my list, but the short list kept me from being overwhelmed.

Just lately I've been wanting to establish a simpler to-do list system once again, so I thought I'd resume my Five Things lists. Then I noticed that these lists have developed into something that can be divided fairly easily into six general categories. So, now I guess I could say that I'm experimenting with what might turn out to be a good way to think about my daily to-dos for the rest of my life.

Each day, I'll make a priority of doing at least one thing in each of these six categories. Doing this is really important for my sanity, wholeness, and peaceful mindset. Sometimes many things in one category will be done, but the purpose of the list is to make sure I'm doing at least one thing in each category. Some of them may take just minutes to do on a given day, while on another day, I might make a big project of one or all of them.

Maybe one day for "beauty" I'll pick some flowers or gather some willow branches or find some nice pinecones or fall leaves for display, and on another day I might paint a room or make progress on a quilt or set an extra pretty table for dinner.

But you don't need me to spell it out for you. Here's the list of six disciplines I want to make a routine part of my daily life, however simple they may need to be on a given day. This is not a list for crossing off, but for filling in, and I like that idea (though I must say that crossing off tasks when they're completed feels good!). My focus here is not so much on conquering tasks as living a well-rounded, caring, lovely life:

Beauty.

Do something, no matter how small, to bring beauty into my life or home. Create. Bring nature indoors. Set a nice table. Rearrange something. Spruce up an area that looks stagnant. Paint, draw, quilt, stitch, sew, construct.

Order.

Bring order out of chaos. However little, wherever it is needed, whether a room, a drawer, a file, a shelf, a closet, a garden bed.

Mind.

Grow by reading, thinking, writing, discussing. Contemplate. Wonder. Appreciate. Stretch a bit. Do what I love.

Relationship.

Show extra care to someone. Prayer, thoughtfulness, service, make a phone call, write a letter. Make an effort. Love.

Spiritual.

Seek God wholeheartedly. Read the Bible. Meditate. Pray for others. Keep a journal. However short or long the time is for this, hem it in quietness and prayer. Do all things as unto Him.

Outdoor Physical.

Move. Walk, garden, bike, hike. Just move in nature, enjoying the weather (no matter the weather!) and the fresh air. (And if the weather conditions are dangerous, I'll stay indoors and find a fun way to move!)