Don’t feel guilty about your to-do list

I recently read an article about how millennials have a very hard time tackling easy tasks on their to-do lists. Why? We’re always working, and we feel like things that aren’t work aren’t valuable. At the same time, we also feel deep shame about not getting things done.

I’ll admit that I have these feelings as well. I roll things over on my to-do list week after week, and when I finally accomplish a task that’s been hanging over me, I feel incredibly relieved.

I let the washed laundry sit folded in the basket for days. I put off going to the post office and getting my car registration renewed. I hate having to go to the store to return things.

What I’ve realized, however, is that it’s perfectly fine if I roll things over, as long as they get done. I also realized that I place more importance on things like my paid assignments because they have due dates, instead of, let’s say, cleaning out my freezer, which doesn’t necessarily need to be done at any certain time. Nothing is going to happen if I don’t clean out the freezer, so I shouldn’t feel guilty or shameful about it.

What you gravitate towards on your to-do list shows what you value in life. I value work over an organized home. And I’ll complete my home organizing tasks before going to the post office or the DMV, because they mean more to me.

I used to feel bad that I haven’t written my complete memoir yet — the most I’ve written is 40 pages. And then I found out that you need to send a literary agent a completed memoir when pitching yourself. I was sick of waiting for feedback, so I sent in my 40 pages, and a literary agent loved it. She just didn’t love the format. So now, I’m taking a structured memoir writing class to get back on track and learn how to write in the format that this agent wants. I didn’t have the tools to complete this item on my to-do list, and now I will. If I still don’t write my memoir after that, then obviously it’s not that important to me (and I have no right to complain that I’m not a bestselling author).

Another issue I used to have was that I’d write down huge tasks instead of breaking down tasks into smaller ones. I’d always feel guilty I didn’t clean the garage or upload six episodes of a podcast — until I saw that I was giving myself too much work to do. I then divided my list into smaller tasks and saw a huge improvement in my productivity.

Because of technology, a fast-paced world, a high cost of living, and constant distractions, it’s very difficult to get things crossed off our to-do lists anymore. But getting yourself into a shame spiral is not going to help the situation. Just step back, take a breath, and evaluate what’s really important. Delete the things that aren’t and focusing on getting the things that are completed. You’ll feel much better. I promise.



Now I’m a Mom

When we last left off, I was nine months pregnant. I didn’t know what I was having. I’m so happy to say that my husband and I now have a beautiful and sweet baby daughter. We are so happy.

As a freelancer, I didn’t — or couldn’t — take any time off from writing. I took on less projects for the month following birth, but got right back on top of it after that time was up. I am now just as busy, if not busier, than I’ve ever been.

Our baby came a few days early, so I was even working through labor. I had two articles due the next day, so how could I miss my deadlines? I’ve never missed a deadline in my life. I wasn’t going to let the contractions stop me. Plus, writing, a relaxing practice for me, helped me get through the pain of labor and kept me distracted.

As a new mommy, it is definitely so much harder to focus on my work and ensure I’m staying on task for the day. I’m often working much longer hours because I am constantly being interrupted. When she’s asleep, I still have to keep the house clean, take care of our seven pets, and cook food. My husband helps out so much, thank goodness, and he’s been making especially delicious and healthy meals for us lately. Still, there is always so much work that we both have to do now that we’re a family of three.

I’ve learned the importance of squeezing work in when I can, keeping to a schedule, and not being distracted by social media or my phone while I am working during the limited time I have throughout the day. I now have to write faster than ever and hope that I don’t make any errors (knock on wood, I’ve been able to keep up the quality of work thus far). Still, as she grows older, I know I’ll either have to slow down or hire help so that I can stay focused. Considering that my career keeps growing and I am attracting more clients than ever, I’ll probably have to go the latter route.

I absolutely love what I do. Even when I’m writing for a niche I may not be particularly interested in, the very act of writing is relaxing for me. I get great satisfaction out of completing an article, no matter what the topic. Thank G-d, at this point, I like all of my clients as well, so interacting with them is always a pleasure. I couldn’t imagine putting my career on hold. I feel like one of the best things I can do for my daughter is to keep working and becoming a more accomplished writer and businesswoman. Not only will I be a good role model for her, but I’ll do my best to support our family. I’ll show her that dreams can come true.

I love being on this ride of motherhood. I know it’ll only continue to get better and better. I can’t wait to see what else the future holds!