A small trick to simplify when you’re to-do list gets too long (and a free printable!)

Do you ever have a hard time keeping things from swallowing you up? I’ve had this post half written for a couple of weeks now, but…I’ve been swallowed up, you see. Not just by things or chores, but by feelings and thoughts too. I have noticed that in myself, I am often not swallowed up by those feelings and thoughts until I’ve already been swallowed up by the things and chores. You too? It’s tricky, ya know.

Trying to find the balance between doing and being. Between the working and resting. Between the yes-ing and no-ing. Chores are the first one to start the trouble. They are trouble makers, those dishes and laundry. I remember comparing them once to Swiper the Fox from Dora while talking to my (then) 2 year old when I had to keep working. I’ll save you my parable there, though. Suffice it to say, chores have been stealing from me for a long time now.

When things overwhelm

But years ago, I discovered a little trick that I implemented during those seasons of overload. A trick I’ll share with you now. Three Things. Choose three things to do today. That’s it.

When my bigs were littles and I was attempting to adjust to a newborn, toddler, and house, I began writing three chores for the day on a chalkboard in my kitchen. The small number made it seem possible. The small number made me feel relief after checking them off. And, if I did something more that day, well..that was just above and beyond!

When I started it, I was afraid I would become so painfully behind in my chores that I’d never catch up, but you’d be shocked to find that you do not. In fact, because I have a list of three, things get put on that list that I wouldn’t do otherwise. Window washing, anyone? Within a couple of weeks, I would stand at the chalkboard with an empty space left trying to think of something I could do that needed doing.

As the years have passed, I still implement the three thing rule for certain weeks and seasons. But, I’ve gone a bit further in my reasoning of the list. For weeks now, I have been thinking on my choices and being intentional. Every every choice we make has a direct opposite. Each time we say yes to something, we are saying no to something else. Each time we say “no” somewhere, we are saying “yes” on the other side.

If I say “yes” to serving somewhere more when I’m not called, I could be saying “no” to rest and refilling.

If I say “no” to my girls’ request, I’m usually saying “yes” to a clean house, selfishness, or my selfish time instead.

If I say “yes” to laundry, I may be saying “no” to the constant cloud overhead of needing to get it done.

If I say “no” to social media today, I may be saying “yes” to right now.

You see? Instead of standing there racking my brain on what three things I need to do today, I want to figure out what my day should be answering. Sometimes, I need to say yes to a clean house and no to chaos. Sometimes, I need to say yes to my girls and fun. What about you? What would happen if you began looking at your day as a day of choices and not a day of lists? I’ve created a printable you can use to fill in each day. Cut them out for that day and use it as a bookmark, post it somewhere, whatever! I like filling out several days worth with at least one so that I won’t freak out about something not being finished. I know I WILL do it on a set day.

Yes and No printable<<<click here to download the printable 🙂

So what will you say “yes” to today?

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