Lessons Learned: Obsessive Use of Lists

I confess. I love lists. I have lists all over the place—at home and at work. I create lists because:

1. I easily forget what it is that I want to do (or have to do) because I’m running around like a bat out of hell.

2. I get the big picture of what tasks or work that I have on my plate.

3. I can prioritize what’s important and do those first, yet I can still keep track of what I need to do.

4. I get to check or cross off the task to say that I did it—I achieved my goal.

Note: The last one is the best reason.

I have two types of lists at home: one for personal/household tasks and one for writing/author tasks. From each list, I try to pick two tasks to complete per day (more on weekends). This way, I can focus on those tasks instead of worrying about all the other things that I need to do. I’ll get to them later…unless, of course, more items get added to the list and become more important. And yes, I confess that I have added something to my list just so I could check it off! I’ve stopped doing that. Really. I have.

At times I do fall behind and my list gets way too big. I then redo my list and eliminate those tasks that become less important or obsolete. For example, cleaning the fridge. That one’s been on my list for a while. My husband did it yesterday. Oh yeah. Off the list.

And if I don’t accomplish all the tasks for the day, I am disappointed. I check to see why. Maybe one of the tasks took longer than what I had expected or that I refocused and did other tasks that were not on my list but should have been.

Some say I may be a bit obsessive when it comes to my lists, but they do work. When your plate runneth over with tons of stuff to do, I recommend organizing by list(s).

And guess what I get to check off for today….


Who else out there loves lists?


Lessons Learned: Respecting Decisions

On my mind lately is respecting decisions. Two events occurred this month that has stuck with me, and I thought they’d be good to blog about as a subject.

The first decision was my daughter’s. When planning the birth of her child, she wanted limited drugs and a water birth. She was a champ and had no drugs during labor…at least the first 30 hours. Her pain was a little different after that when the doctor used drugs to speed up her labor. When the new nurse came in for her shift, she had an attitude with no compassion. She started in with questions, “Why doesn’t she want drugs? She should have drugs. She needs an epidural. Why won’t she have one?” The attitude continued as we tried explaining what my daughter wanted. The nurse wouldn’t have it. She then said, “If she can’t handle the pain now, she’s never going to make it through labor.” Those words had my daughter in tears. Finally I had to tell the nurse to stop. She was making my daughter upset. I repeated myself a few times, but the nurse wouldn’t listen. I then told her to leave the room with the glare of the devil in my eyes. She finally did. My daughter then decided on the epidural. I went out to the nurses’ station where four of them sat. I asked if one – without an attitude – would help explain to my daughter the procedure. The head nurse went in and explained, showing respect for my daughter’s wishes for a natural childbirth and how the epidural would help her. She let my daughter make the choice.

The second decision was a co-worker’s when she decided to take another job. She loved the people where we work; however, she needed more pay. She is a single mom that has to make ends meet. Everyone tried telling her that money isn’t everything. She had to take into consideration where she’d be working, the benefits, the stress she’d be put under, etc. My co-worker got it. She did think about the pros and cons of leaving. She was torn and wanted a few of us to make the decision for her. Obviously, we couldn’t. As much as we wanted her to stay, we know that she had to make the decision for herself. Once she made the decision, we had to respect it. We still keep in touch. I’m not sure if she likes her job yet (it’s still too new), but she does miss us. I will continue to support her or give guidance whenever she needs it.

Everybody has to make tough decisions, even when it turns out to be something unplanned or unwanted. At times decisions that you make can be wrong or need a different route, but that’s okay. Make a decision. Go for it. If things don’t work out, you can always change it. The main thing is to respect the choice made.

Lessons Learned: Being Prepared and the Unexpected

I apologize for being late with my blog. This is one of those lessons learned on being prepared or having to deal with the unexpected.

Mike and I went camping along the North Shore in Minnesota for four days. Our first campsite was Spirit Mountain in Duluth where I probably should have written my blog and sent it out early. I should have been prepared for the unexpected – like no internet – but I wasn’t.

On Sunday, we went up to Two Harbors to see the lighthouse. We then stopped at Split Rock Lighthouse since we had time before check in at our second campsite. I figured I had time to write my blog on Monday.

Split Rock Lighthouse
Split Rock Lighthouse

We camped for two nights at Gooseberry Falls State Park. The park is the most visited state park in MN, and I can see why – beautiful. All the buildings in the park had the rustic, old-time feel that I love. The CCC built them in the 30’s, and they did amazing work.

One of the buildings built by the CCC.
One of the buildings built by the CCC.

One oops though, I thought the campground had electricity and water. I was wrong. We had to dry camp. Our RV is equipped, but it meant that I couldn’t use my computer. I can’t say that I was disappointed though. A little R&R from electronics was needed. However, I did feel bad for not getting my blog out. I wrote the first draft, but that’s as far as it went.

One of the Falls at Gooseberry State Park, MN
One of the Falls at Gooseberry State Park, MN

On Monday, we hiked for “47” miles (as my husband put it) to see the different Falls the park is known for. We hiked to the Fifth Fall which is less viewed by tourists but well worth it. Last night we watched the waves as they crash against the rocks along the shore. We also watched the moon as it rose and glistened off Lake Superior. Breathtaking.

So, here I am back to my apology. I’m sorry. I took the opportunity to enjoy nature and here’s some pictures to show you what I mean. Enjoy!

Lesson Learned: Second Blessings

The first blessing is having a child. The second blessing is your child having a child. My new grandson is one week and one day old today.

Zander 1 week old 9 8 2013 004

I’m not sure what the best part is (so far) of being a grandma. If I could, I would watch him all day long. I love his facial expressions with the Mr. Magoo wrinkles and when he gives me the ET neck stretch to lift his head in curiosity. And who can resist hearing the sweet melody of smacking lips as he waits for a bottle or watching his cute little sneeze or hiccup. What a blessing.

Zander 1 week old 9 8 2013 006

Or, is the best part watching your daughter (above) as she looks at her child in awe? To see the pure joy that radiates from her face when she holds him in her arms. To know what it means when she says, “I can’t believe I gave birth to an 8 lb, 12 oz baby.” Knowing, how it’s all worthwhile.

I’m liking this grandma thing and having a second blessing. Both of them fascinate me, mother and child, as I look on as a proud mama/grandma.


I’m proud to announce the arrival of my first grandson, Zander, born on September 1 at 9:21 a.m. We are taking time out to enjoy him.

Until next week.

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