Susan Vollenweider - The too much to-do about nothing flu

03/31/2013 9:31 PM

05/20/2014 10:41 AM

What’s more important than dusting off my keyboard? Than watching a “Millionaire Matchmaker” marathon? Than dumping out the spice drawer, cleaning it and reorganizing the contents in alphabetical order?


And yet, that is what I did on a recent Saturday. I had a to-do list a mile long but the tasks that grabbed my attention weren’t listed. By day’s end I scrambled to finish the things I had needed to do … OK, I didn’t quite finish ... while I was making dinner.

This happens all the time. I am focused when time is of the essence (read: deadline to be met), but when I am left to motivate and drudge myself through tasks that hold no appeal or reward, I wander. I get distracted. I become a pinball being deflected away from the goal.

Maybe it’s Spring Fever. Or maybe Delayed Spring Fever. Winter lasted too long, nothing indoors is appealing and I’m antsy for the warm weather tasks.

Or maybe I’m just lazy.

No, that can’t be it. I keep busy, get things done, just not always the things that need to be done. I’ve done those things so many times that I know when I finish them, I’m just going to have to do them again in a day or so. I’ve dusted the living room how many times in my life? The next week it needs it again. Every time. I know how this story ends — it doesn’t.

Maybe it’s a case of Middle Aged Been-There-Done-That Virus.

The other day my list looked like this: Write weekly menu/grocery list and do laundry.

What did I do instead? I got proactive, diagnosed and treated the problem. Instead of beating myself up for not doing the things on the list, I added the things that I did


the list.


Write weekly menu/grocery list

Do laundry

Find kids’ Easter baskets and confiscate all green jellybeans. Then yellow.

Brush teeth.

Collect the red ones.

Do jumping jacks and run up and down the stairs several times once I realize how many calories worth of sugar I had ingested.

Find my secret stash of Easter candy and replace in kids’ baskets

Drink water

Drink coffee

Facebook Skye and Other Susan discussing merits and challenges of having a Seinfeldian conversation about nothing

At this point I realized that I was on to something. All those accomplishments were crossed off my list! I felt victorious and successful. What could I do next?

I put the laundry in. I added the detergent, pulled the knob and realized I was only a dryer and a basket of folded clothes away from completing that task.

I was a chore machine! Nothing could stop my productivity!

Try out new eyeliner

Take off new eyeliner

Try again

Scrub eyes red and wonder how long the learning curve for liquid eyeliner is

Spot a bottle of purple nail polish. Shiny

Paint toenails

20 minutes later: shiny toes. Shiny wet toes that required me to pad around the house barefoot while they dried. This did give me time to finish the things that were on the list when the day began.

I am Doctor To Do List; I’ve diagnosed and cured myself.

I have to admit, once again, to hypocrisy. When my kids don’t complete their chore lists do I reward them with make-up and jelly beans? Not exactly.

But maybe the next time that they argue with me that they have more “important” things that take up chore time, I can offer that day as an example of overcoming the Too Much To-Do About Nothing Flu.


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