My Ink Dance

Discovering Extraordinary Grace in an Ordinary Life

Are You Making the Wrong List?

I was brushing my teeth after a day. You know the one. Nothing goes as planned. You look around at the end and see dishes piled in the sink and you feel like you accomplished nothing.

I started thinking about all the things I hadn’t done, but then something changed. I felt tired of the usual run through at the end. Tired of feeling like a hamster going nowhere. So I thought to myself, ‘Well, I did…..” and I kept going.

The to-do list seems endless, a scroll of things to accomplish. But what if that's not the list you need?

I started a new list. I’ve written about my love of lists before but somehow in all the to dos’ that never seem to get done I had forgotten. Forgotten that I DO. I do plenty. And my worth is not linked to anything I do or don’t do.

I decided, right there over my bathroom sink, to mentally list the things I’d done.

I picked up my sick boy from school and took care of him.

I made him soup.

I wrote.

I did some laundry.

I wiped the counter and the table so many times.

Put dishes away

Texted my husband to cheer him up

Kissed my husband.

The to-do list seems endless, a scroll of things to accomplish. But what if that's not the list you need?

This list was looking good. Suddenly, I was feeling better. Sure, there was Facebook scrolling and time spent on less important things. But time is not wasted. Time just is. Some of it is used well, and some is just used.

When I thought about my list, I realized it was amazing. Not because of any specific thing on there or how long the list was. It was amazing because it changed the way I viewed my whole day.

What can you put on your list today?

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Sharing words at #raralinkup and with these great writers today!

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About Becky Hastings

I am emotional and logical. I am strong and dependent. I am a juxtaposition of head and heart exploring it all through writing. And in all my mixed-up ways I am loved. I'm here to tell you that you are, too. Just the way you are.

28 Replies

  1. Hmmm… I’ve always enjoyed slashing through tasks completed (even adding things not on my list before I did them) on my “To Do” List, but things left undone still mock me. But maybe I need this new way of looking at lists! Thanks for sharing! XO

    1. Becky Hastings

      Did you give it a try Liz? I hope it helped 🙂

  2. I do the same thing, Becky, and it always restores a sense of calm. Great tip! Sharing this on FB and Twitter.

    1. Becky Hastings

      Thanks Sarah!

  3. Absolutely necessary to sanity and keeping the devil from trapping us with his, “You’re not enough” lies. That time with your son was well spent.

    1. Becky Hastings

      It sure was! And you’re right about the enemy.

  4. I’ve done this before, too! It’s so much better to see everything you DID do instead of all the things you couldn’t accomplish!

    1. Becky Hastings


  5. Andrea Nine

    I kid people that I make lists about my lists, lol.

    1. Becky Hastings

      LOL 🙂

  6. I loved this post because it is so true of me. While I may not write my list on paper, I have a running list in my head. And the thing is … when we re-write our list, we often discover we did the most important things in the course of the day! (ie – kissed our husbands, comforted a friend, sent the card, etc.). As a matter of fact, I think I will go do one of the biggest things for today … make that phone call! You always encourage me and for that I am grateful!

    1. Becky Hastings

      Yay! I’m so glad Joanne!

  7. This is why I add things to my planner and cross them off even AFTER I’ve already finished them. A helpful reminder that the ordinary of ours day is purposeful too. Thanks for this, Becky!

    1. Becky Hastings

      I do the same thing!

  8. This sounds like a much better list than the ones I usually have running. Great idea!

    1. Becky Hastings

      I can relate Sarah! 🙂

  9. Luann

    Thinking positively in our private life and staying positive in the world which is dominated by sin is difficult. (See John 10:10) I like your idea to flip our train of thought to those things done and done well instead of dwelling on the “missed opportunities” of the day. Thank you.

    1. Becky Hastings

      Thank you Luann! I’m so glad you’re here! Hope all is well!

  10. Great idea! I’ve done this before, too (but just in my head)— makes such a difference. Thank you, Becky, for the reminder! Maybe I’ll try writing it out now…

    1. Becky Hastings

      You may be amazed at all the good things you’ve accomplished!

  11. I love lists, too, and I love this idea!

    1. Becky Hastings

      Thanks Lisa!

  12. oooh, Becky! How great is this? Love it, friend. I’m forever making the wrong mental list. Love this fresh perspective. Thank you. 🙂 xoxo

    1. Becky Hastings

      So glad to share 🙂 xo

  13. Becky I didn’t participate in any linkups this week as I was out of town. But my daughter, who actually subscribes to MY INK DANCE, told me how much better she felt after reading “the wrong list.” So, thank YOU for encouraging my sweet daughter who goes and goes and goes and yet feels like she’s not done important things, and yet…. you know the rest of the story!!!

    1. Becky Hastings

      Oh Susan. I am so grateful for these words. Knowing that someone else out there feels and experiences the same things can make a huge difference. I am so happy that your daughter and I were able to share that moment (even if it was just in text on a screen). And thank you for being here and loving and encouraging so faithfully to the people in your life!

  14. What a wonderful way of looking at lists and accomplishments. I needed this today!

    1. Becky Hastings

      So glad you’re here Donna!

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