Yesterday, I finished reading Listful Thinking by Paula Rizzo. It inspired me by the sheer variety of list making possibilities. I have to admit, I’m an avid list maker. That’s probably why I got this book. Who doesn’t like reading books that affirm what they already love?
Last night, I sat in my car in the dark church parking lot waiting for my kids to get out of youth group. Rizzo’s ideas were floating around in my head so I decided to grab a notebook and make a list- actually two lists:
things that annoy me but are beyond my control and things that annoy me that I have dominion and power over.
A curious thing happened as I compiled the lists. First I began to let go of anxiety about things I can’t change- serenity prayer flashback. I realized my emotional efforts in this area doesn’t change anything, but it does cost me precious energy.
Secondly, I realized I can change many of the things that annoy me that I have dominion and power over. By shifting my focus, emotions and energy away from what I can’t control, I felt energized to tackle things I can control- like my messy coat closet. (Which I tackled this morning for anyone who cares.)
This is one point Paula touches on in her book. A list can be much more than a to-do checklist. A list can be a brain dump. A list can bring clarity. A list can help you organize your thinking and make progress.
How might making a list help you work through difficult situations on your parenting journey?
2 thoughts on “The Power of a List”
You replied to this comment.
I think some people are naturally more focused than I am. A list helps me to concentrate on what I hope to do when I get distracted by the mail man, the milk mess or my own mind. I become less irritated with interruptions because I don’t have to try and remember what was I just doing. I simply look at my list. Also, I only put things on the list that I really want to do or must be done. As a result, it’s more like a helpful assistant than a guilt trip. Paula Rizzo recommends using sticky notes for people who get overwhelmed with lists. It’s super small so you can’t get too much on there.