To Do Lists & Open BooksI love to open a book — a good one, still not used to reading my iPad — the sharp edges pressing into my hands, not being able to read in the sunshine. But open a book, and I think I smell the ink, and the worn wood crushed to make the paper offered up to me and other readers.

God help me but I still love Italian memoirs. I just re-read Ferenc Mate’s The Hills of Tuscany and the follow up, A Vineyard in Tuscany.

He is a fabulous writer, with a knack for story telling, details, sense of humor, and skill in execution of adventure. He and his wife are actually avid sailors adventuring often in Tahiti and in the northwestern waters of the US, so I imagine them courageous and a little crazy. I convinced my husband to read the Vineyard, and in the first pages he was chuckling out loud. Yes! Because we are going to be driving around that area of Tuscany in September, maybe we’ll visit Ferenc’s vineyard, which I’ve wanted to do since I first read his book six years ago. So much to do in Italy and even on vacation, there is also a To Do List.

What would life be like without  To Do Lists?

I actually need a list or I just spin out into mediocrity. Let’s back track on that—I choose not to follow a To Do List all the time, but it’s important that I have one, so I don’t have to keep the chores inside my head, or forget an important task. I add HAVE FUN on my To Do List too including meet a friend for lunch, do yoga, go to the local coffee house.

I can toss the list aside to read an open book that is calling me!

I have new arm chairs placed in the two bedrooms on the main floor of my house (a friend gave them to me), and they call me into their flowery arms, “bring your book and cup of English Breakfast tea, put your feet up, and read to your heart’s content.”  And I run to them like a young lover, and languish more than I used to. I may even take with me my notebook of TO DO’s. I am learning  over and over everyday not to feel like a failure if I don’t complete the eternal TO DO List.

I just decided this morning during an Option Method session, that when I think of that list, I’m going to acknowledge what I DID get done. It is a myth that the to do list will ever be completed. Oh it will be for a day or two, maybe, but it grows like the weeds in my garden on these rainy summer days.

Here is how to handle a TO DO LIST:

1. Write on the front of a spiral note BOOK, which is an open book, I LOVE MY WONDERFUL TO DO LIST! add some pictures to the front of it.

2. Divide the paper in half: ON the left column: TO CALL, On the right column: TO DO

3. Create a page with the word ‘Successes’ on the top, and just jot down what you’ve accomplished whenever you feel like it or when you start beating yourself up for not completing everything on the list. This is just so you realize you’re doing stuff.

4. Make a cup of tea,coffee, lemonade, martini or whatever, and play every day like a child would, with freedom and abandonment—go catch a bluegill or play jacks with Mary Ellen (if she can get away from her to do list),

5. Be sure to add play time, exercise time, hanging out time on the to do list, and that is to be added to your successes! I harvested basil and garlic yesterday instead of writing a blog post or finishing the work on moving my website over to a wordpress site. Then I made pesto with toasted pistachios, basil, olive oil, garlic, and then made marinara sauce.

I added it to my successes after I beat myself up for procrastinating the other more important work of writing and moving the website. The open book is calling me, and I want that on my master to do list too!

How do you handle your TO DO LISTS? Enjoy it and Do it!

Learn more about traveling to Italy on Lenora’s Italy Retreats For Women
Find out more about Lenora’s Sweet Life Workshops and Sweet Life Happiness Coaching.

You are welcome to reprint, copy, or distribute Lenora Boyle’s article, provided author credit is included.