Move over ‘To-Do List’ and ‘Not-To-Do List’, there’s a new girl in town! Why everything can wait and how a ‘Not Today List’ can save your sanity.
Does having enough time to do all the things and be present with your kids sound like a dream? Maybe you’d be happy just keeping on top of the house stuff and getting your kids out the door on time. Or maybe you’re in such a steep season that simply having food in the fridge and not yelling all the time sounds like perfection. Wherever you’re at, we all have one thing in common: our plates are full and there is not enough time in the day.
Now you’ve probably heard of the Not-To-Do List. (It’s where you list out everything you do in a day and then you decide to either delegate it, automate it or eliminate it.) But today I wanna introduce you to its favourite cousin, the super casual bestie who brings the Tim Tams, the Not Today List! Catchy title right?! Whaddya think?
A Not Today List is a pressure-relieving, presence-promoting MACHINE and your new best friend.
Ah, I LOVE it so much! Here’s why:
- It’s simple. You don’t need a pen and paper or an app on your phone.
- It doesn’t require much mental space either. In fact, done right, a Not Today List is going to free up your time and give it back to you right where you need it the most.
- You get to spend more time doing the things you love.
Have you ever noticed how that To-Do list seems never-ending? Kinda like once you tick one thing off another one appears. You clean the kitchen. Yay! A clear benchtop! You go to put the milk away and notice leftovers that need composting. Grimace emoji. You clean the fridge. Ah, so shiny and hygienic! But, it’s kinda empty now so maybe it’s time for a fruit shop run. Sound familiar?
The problem is not that the list keeps getting longer. The problem is that as it gets longer, you feel worse. Like you’ll never be caught up. Like there is always something to do so you can never fully rest. Your brain gets really good at looking for what needs doing instead of enjoying what is. Now I’m not saying that is all bad. That’s probably part of the reason you’re a badass and successful at life. Because you get stuff done! But if you don’t know how to turn it off sometimes, you’ll end up rushing through your days, never stopping to enjoy what it is you’re working so hard for. Like I used to until I discovered a Not Today List.
Tell me exactly how to do a Not Today List
Here’s how it works for me and what I’d recommend:
- First thing when you wake up in the morning, (before you check your phone or even get up to pee) think about the 3 biggest things you want to achieve in the day. I normally choose things that are super important to the person I want to be. Or I choose things that I have been procrastinating on and that need to get done. Today, for example, I chose:
- Spending quality time with the twins. They’ve been sick. I just want to play in the sun with them and give them my full attention.
- Get this blog post done.
- Order some fruit trees for our backyard. I’ve been delaying this one because I just can’t make a decision. I know what I want. Get it done already and move on.
- As you go about your daily tasks, take note of when your internal whip-cracker makes an appearance. For instance, when you go to the fridge and notice it needs cleaning. Or when you’re outside playing with your kids and notice that the garden needs weeding. That’s your internal whip-cracker and she needs to sit the hell down. She’s preventing you from enjoying the moment and she sure as heck does not like what’s coming next.
- As you notice those thoughts arise you need to say to yourself ‘not today’. Actually visualise yourself holding up a sign that says: NOT TODAY. I’ve found it really helpful to form a picture in my mind of the thoughts entering my brain and then me sending them on their way again. Kinda like a train going around a u-bend and chooging right on out of there again. By the time they get about a metre from my head they disappear in a puff of smoke. Seriously sounds a little wacky but the visuals really help me. I don’t dwell. The thoughts are gone. I go back to sitting in the sun, coffee by my side, watching my babies.
A Not Today List is something I’ve been doing for a few years now and it has seriously changed my life. Don’t worry. I definitely still get it wrong A LOT of the time. However, when I remember to start my day with my big three and put the things that don’t really serve me on my mental Not Today List, I’m a happier person at the end of it. My children feel my presence and for me, that is my biggest indicator of success.
Start small, notice that whip-cracking voice telling you you should be doing more and put her in her place. The more often you do, the less power she will have over you. At the risk of repeating something you already know let me just remind you that you will never get this day again. Choose to do what is really filling your cup and say Not Today to the rest.
Come and hang out with me in the sun!
I’ll be the one trying to stop the kids from kicking over my coffee!
PS. I also love hanging out with you guys on Instagram! Come and share your ordinary beautiful with me there!