Were you one of the gazillion readers who pushed sales of The Lifetime Magic of Tidying Up through the rooftop? For those who didn’t read the book, author Marie Kondo shared tips for the sport of extreme decluttering. Kondo gave one piece of advice I’ll never forget: “Believe what your heart tells you when you ask, ‘Does this spark joy?'” If an item doesn’t give you joy, she advises getting rid of it. I tried to apply this rule to my efforts to declutter kitchen utensils, my underwear drawer, and linen closet. Although using the items in each of these locations does not make me want to clap and sing aloud, I find them to be very useful and, consequently, felt compelled to shove the drawers closed.
I bring up this topic, because it reminds me of a blog post I just read about overcoming another bad habit, titled “How To Only Do Things You Actually Want to Do.” In this, writer Christine Carter takes on the topic of things-to-do lists. She says, “Ineffective task lists make us feel like we have too much to do in too little time, which makes us feel overwhelmed. Ironically, this makes us worse at planning and managing our time.” I agree with her on this point. But then, she asks list makers to highlight any items they dread doing, and delete or delegate these items. Cleaning my oven, a task I dread, seems to never make any of my lists. So far so good. But notice the next step. Delegate what you dread?
Even to delegate what I’d rather not do, as in shopping for groceries, doing errands, cooking and cleaning up the kitchen, would be impossible to achieve on a daily basis. I don’t want to try to push off anything more to my husband who does his fair share. And Gordon the cat hardly has the energy to wake up from his long winter’s nap except to make it to his food bowl, and filling it every ten minutes is also a hard job to delegate.
Sure, I could pay someone to do everything I don’t want to do, but that seems more like hiring a household staff comparable to the one that reigned in Downton Abbey. Rather than resort to extreme editing and costly delegating, I believe I’ll skip list making. If on occasion I feel pressure to create one, I’ll do it the day of and fill it only with activities I love.