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Me time

Life’s more than a “to do” list

manuelita otero

“I haven’t done anything today!”  That’s what I say many times at the end of the day as I look at the long list of things I need to do.  And believe me; I am not proud of this.  Not that I didn’t do anything, because that is not true. On the contrary, I usually do more than I can believe possible, but for some reason I have decided to label many of the things I do as “not that important” so I don’t count them.  I wonder when did I decide that buying groceries, paying bills, cleaning the house, and driving my children to their activities shouldn’t be counted as part of the important things I do?  Why do I sometimes feel so unproductive even though I haven’t stopped during the whole day?

Don’t you feel there is a daily battle with time? It goes by so fast and we want to do so much: We have loved ones, our own projects, obligations, and work and we just don’t seem to have enough time for everything. Women are constantly on the go, working at home and outside and organizing everything needed for their homes to run smoothly.  I admire women, not because I am one, but because women are amazing and sometimes we don’t celebrate ourselves enough. Realizing this has helped me overcome the “not enough” mentality, and now I celebrate me and all that I do. It has helped me focus on what is important, to slow down and enjoy the moment and at the same time be happier. We don’t get more done when we are in a rush, we just feel like we do. To be honest I am still learning, so I wanted to share what has helped me feel more productive each day:  

Make a list: I love lists! But at times I have a love-hate relationship with them because I tend to write too many things, so obviously at the end of the day all I see are the things I haven’t done and  I end up feeling discouraged. I have decided that it helps to write down everything I need to do to remember it later, but I now choose the three things that I have to get done that day and after that everything is a bonus.   

Schedule time for you: Do what you love each day.  We need balance in our life and we can’t continue doing everything for everyone and leave our preferences and passions for later.  If you love to paint, make time to paint, or take photographs, or do exercise or have a coffee on your own… Whatever makes you happy, make time for it.

It takes a village: When I say “I haven’t done anything today”, my seventeen year old daughter quickly reprimands me, and I can’t tell you how much that helps. Find people who are close to you and ask them to let you know when you are speaking negatively about yourself.  

Watch the time thieves: I am so proud of how organized I am with my time until I decide to pick my phone up and then 30 minutes are gone just like that.  Social media is great, just not all the time because if we allow it to, it could steal not only our time and productivity, but the opportunity to enjoy our surroundings, to awaken our creativity, and to build memories.  

If we are not careful, life can become a long list of things to do, and who wants to live like that? When we worry so much about “doing”, we may stop enjoying ourselves, the people around us, and the things that we have.   Define what matters to you, not what people expect or demand, but what is important to you. Once you have your priorities clear, trace a realistic plan to achieve them without losing your peace. Celebrate all you do, even the little things because that’s what life is, a compilation of lots of little moments that become memories. Enjoy your today.

By Manuelita @manuelitaotero