Hello Friends.

It’s weird to start a blog. It’s kind of audacious if you think about it. What on earth do I have to say that is worth you taking time out of your life to read it?

Guys, this is worth it.

The number one thing I get asked when I talk about writing books (or reading them for that matter) is how on earth I find the time to do that. I have four children. I wrote my first novel when my first child was six months old and I discovered NaNoWriMo. I’ve written a novel every November since then.

Here is my secret:

My list. I love my list. My list keeps me sane. My list makes me happy. My list keeps me focused on my actual priorities. I check things off and write on it with a dry erase marker. It gives me great satisfaction to check things off of lists. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.

I will explain the things on my list a bit.

The first section is my version of self-care. I’m not a believer that bubble baths and binge-watching Netflix are a good self-care regimen. This is mine: take care of my body, take care of my spirit. Most people probably don’t need to be reminded to brush their teeth every day but I do. Exercise, scripture and prayer and making my bed (which actually means clean my room) is my daily self-care regimen. And I love it. Sometimes it takes me all day long because of my to-do list, but I’ll get there in a minute.

I recently moved writing up on my list because I’m trying to make it more of a priority in my life. It used to be under the chore-related categories and before that, it would come up as a to-do list item

The next section is the basic chores I need to keep moving in order to keep my family of six from imploding. I should say that I’ve been super successful at getting my kids to do chores so I have kids that start loads of laundry and empty the dishwasher. I just keep things moving forward. We need clean dishes and clothes. We just do. I’ll do another post sometime on my secrets to getting my kids to do their chores.

When I get to ‘chore,’ I look around my house and think “what would I be the most embarrassed by if my mom stopped by today?” She lives 2200 miles away from me so that’s not likely to happen, but it’s a good thought exercise. I do whatever that thing is.

Then I have my to-do list. A lot of time that’s all scheduled stuff like it was today. Sometimes I don’t have as many appointments or meetings and I have the time to work on special projects. Also, I don’t come up with five things to do each day, I limit myself to five things. Today I knew that my time was pretty scheduled out so I didn’t add anything extra to my to-do list.

dinner, read to kids, gardening all self-explanatory. I try to find some kind of service to do outside of my immediate family each day. A lot of what I do around my house could count as service but I find myself feeling more connected if I serve outside my home every day.

Once upon a time, I finished the entire list. It’s happened once and I have to tell you that it didn’t bring me the satisfaction that I thought it would. It was a little empty. But it made me realize that the list really is a means to an end and on not the end itself. An important distinction. This also allows me to let go of the feeling that I have to get through the list. That’s not its purpose. I don’t feel bad when I only get a few of the things done because I know that I can congratulate myself for anything I’ve done. Even when I sick, I can brush my teeth and say prayers and read my scriptures and look at how amazing I am!

If you get to the end of every day feeling like you don’t really know what you did that day, or you feel like you’re drowning and don’t get to do things that you feel are really important, I recommend the list method.

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