How About a Ta-Da List?

Instead of a to-do list, how about a ta-da list? This post is for all compulsive list makers. Don’t worry, I’m one too. Many of my lists stay in my head, but once they become too numerous or too long, I put them on paper or on a screen. Doing so makes me feel organized. It can also leave me feeling discouraged when the lists get longer instead of shorter.

Obviously, discouragement won’t help me get tasks completed any faster so I’m filing away my to-do lists in favor of ta-da lists. A ta-da list can contain anything I accomplish. Sometimes that may be a task from my to-do list. Other times, it could be eating a healthy meal or treating myself kindly.

A ta-da list is a way to give myself credit for all that I do. And seeing it in black and white makes me realize I’m not a slug who never completes a to-do list. I’m a very engaged person who accomplishes an amazing amount then takes on even more.

It also lets me see where my time is going without getting lost in feelings of inadequacy or frustration. That can give the perspective I need to help align my priorities and goals with my activity. Rethinking my obligations shifts from a difficult task to a rewarding experience.

And ta-das are a reason for celebration. It’s so easy to focus on what I’ve failed to do rather than celebrate what I’ve done. Having a ta-da list shows me exactly how many reasons I have for jubilation!

It’s the beginning of a new week and a great time to start. Here are today’s ta-das so far:

  • Dried towels
  • Wrote draft of a children’s book 
  • Did yoga 
  • Contributed to critique meeting
  • Tweeted @Cooking2T 
  • Downloaded and installed software
  • Sorted and threw away misc stuff from porch
  • Made a list of fuses to order 
  • Resized a mat for the RV 
  • Moved kitchen items into the RV

But it would feel much different if I were to compare that to the multiple running lists I keep in color-coded steno books: Pink=personal, White=work, Gray=house projects, Teal=landlord projects. So, I think it’s best to create the master lists that will guide the overall direction of my personal, work, house, and landlord projects and then file them away for the week.

I’ll only work with my ta-da lists until an appointed review time. It will take some experimentation to determine whether weekly or monthly review will be most effective. At review time, I’ll compare my ta-da lists to my to-do list. What I’ll be looking for is a ratio of goal accomplishment to self-celebration that feels satisfying, positive, and encouraging. 

If I find I’m celebrating so much I fail to achieve any goal, I’ll adjust. If I see that I push myself so hard I don’t enjoy anything, I’ll adjust. If I only used to-do lists as a reference, I’d be more likely to measure success or failure and move on without analysis regarding improvement. The slight change in the system makes me more likely to become more and more efficient and effective.

It must be working already. It sometimes takes a whole day to write a blog post. It’s only 12:35 pm and I am ta-done!

Stuck Inside? Organize.

Stuck inside? Organize. This winter may bring weather that keeps you inside where it’s snuggly and warm. Once you’re tired of binge watching, it’s a great time to organize. I always like to start with the kitchen.

Pull-out drawer organizers

A few years ago on such a day, I installed pull-out cabinet drawers in two of my kitchen cabinets. It was a great decision! I can get to everything in the back of the cabinets and it makes cooking much more pleasant.

The drawers came pre-assembled and were easy to install. I needed a drill, but nothing more. You can choose from wood, chrome, or plastic in a variety of sizes and configurations. These can make old cabinets feel customized and modern.
drawer

Adding under-shelf storage to open kitchen shelves is another way to both organize and create additional space. If you have glass jars with metal lids available, fasten each lid to the bottom of your shelf with two screws, fill the jars, and then screw them into the lids.

The jars can be uniform or different depending on your style. Filled with colorful contents, they’re sure to add visual interest to any room. With these installed in the kitchen, you can have almonds, sunflower seeds, dried cherries, dried mango, trail mix, granola, coffee, tea, or candy at your fingertips.

Buy larger; store smaller

Jars are also great for storing items inside your cabinets. I buy spices in bags and then transfer small portions into glass spice jars that I place on a stair step organizer in a small cabinet by my stove.

Rather than buying jars, I save glass yogurt jars, jelly jars, pimento jars, pickle jars, etc. This means I have a variety of sizes and shapes to fit specific needs. When I feel like I have enough on hand, I add newly emptied (washed, of course) jars to my donation box.

Reimagine tools

I sometimes pick up display racks from stores that are going out of business and selling the fixtures. I don’t go crazy, but I’ll buy a couple of items here and there and then use them the next time I organize. My plastic lid organizer is a divided acrylic box that came from a defunct bookstore.

Tins that arrive at Christmas can be used to hold tea bags, sweetener packets, yeast packets, yogurt starter, or dried chile peppers. They’re also great for snacks you don’t want the kids to see in the pantry and picnic supplies you don’t use often. Stackability is a great reason to use tins in some spaces.

Somehow I ended up with too many mini loaf pans. Rather than get rid of half of them, I repurposed some to hold cupcake liners, spice bags, cheesecloth, and silicone bands. I’ve also used stoneware crocks in similar ways.

Safe for exploration

My most recent organizing projects have been to baby proof my kitchen for curious grandchildren. I removed cleaning products from the cabinet under the sink and placed a rubber band around the cabinet door knobs. The only other accessible cabinets contain cookware so I didn’t need to add hardware for safety.

There are two low drawers a toddler can reach. I use one for dish towels. I filled the other with measuring cups and spoons, a collapsible colander, a small rolling pin, and other child-safe items. Having a drawer the children are allowed to play in lessens the chance they’ll get into the cookware cabinets when I tell them no.

My two oldest grandchildren have spent hours playing with the items in that drawer. They turn measuring cups into pots for their miniature stove. They grab a variety of cups and stand on a stool at the sink pouring water from one to the other.

KB took each and every item out of that drawer and licked it one day. Of course I had to wash everything afterward, but it entertained him for a long time. Having these items accessible gives me an opportunity to introduce cooking tools and terms to the kids when they’re small. By the time they’re ready to cook, they’ll be familiar with the language and comfortable in the kitchen.

Convenient and efficient

Organization as a tool to improve efficiency makes sense to me. Organization as an end unto itself does not. I embrace the time it takes to make things easier to find and reach. Past that point, organizing feels like a waste of time. In fact, if I end up with too many levels of organization, I can’t remember where I put things.

The good news is, at the end of an organizing day I know where to find the ingredients for a cup of hot chocolate that I can drink when I go back to binge watching!

https://www.containerstore.com/s/kitchen/cabinet-organizers/lynk-chrome-pull-out-cabinet-drawers/12d?productId=10017298

https://www.homedepot.com/b/Kitchen-Kitchen-Storage-Organization-Pull-Out-Cabinet-Organizers-Pull-Out-Cabinet-Drawers/N-5yc1vZci43

http://www.cooking2thrive.com/blog/make-the-kitchen-your-happy-place/

ad