Making change: Doing one less thing isn’t very easy task

Ann Wright



It would be easy to turn this story into something that makes me look really good. But the reality is that I was terrible at this.

In fact, in early March I stopped making written lists. What’s the point?

Since January, I’ve been supposed to do one less thing each day in an effort to lessen daily stress. I don’t think I accomplished that goal, unless you count not making lists or not blogging when I should have. (Bad editor, bad!)

Three months later and my stress level feels about the same.

During this experiment I didn’t get to bed much earlier than I did before, although I thought about it more.

I left some things undone and procrastinated on others.

I still haven’t done my taxes. Why? I blame a printer cartridge running out, the printer refusing to work and my husband being out of town. I didn’t want to haul my kids to Office Max to buy a printer cartridge … but I somehow managed to take them to a bookstore, the mall, a garden center and Chick-fil-A.

Even before this three-month experiment, I was pretty good at saying “no,” not volunteering to do extra things and easily getting done what I really want to do. I’m pretty selfish, thus some of my stress is self-inflicted because of how I handle tasks.

So since I stopped making written lists, I started keeping track only of what I had to do each day: the appointments and meetings, the deadlines, the laundry, grocery shopping and meal preparation. And the miles I needed to run. Because in all of this I had to run a half marathon — see what I mean about getting done what I really want to do?

Next time I decide to make a change, my goal needs to be more defined. “Doing one less thing” gave me plenty of wiggle room to justify doing or not doing.

My husband would certainly like it if I took on Rachel’s goal of not buying anything new for a few months. That’s rather defined and, come to think of it, would probably mean I’d be doing one less thing a day.


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