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How I rescued this morning from my To-do list

How I rescued this morning from my To-do list

By Kath Walters

This morning, I rescued my first two hours from my relentless To-do list, kept them for myself and cherished them.

That’s a big change for me.

I’ve spent most of my adult life springing out of bed, slamming down some coffee, and launching into the To-do list.

Work is not the only thing on that list. There’s exercise, yoga, spiritual practices, relationships, reading newspapers and blogs, get-togethers, catch-ups, help-outs, chill-outs, films, reading and even TV.

Phew! Is it any wonder that it is harder and harder to get out of bed in the morning? The full horror of how much there is to do, and how little time to do it, often hits me hardest in those first waking moments.

Today was different.

Last night I promised myself that I could have the first hour of my day to do whatever I wanted to do. When the alarm went at 6am, I told myself that I could sleep away my time, if I wanted to. But I did not. Instead, I got up and started to potter.

What I do when I do what I want

I began playing ABC Jazz. I turned on heaters, put on the kettle for a cup of tea, and put on some warm, comfy clothes. I did a little dance (more of a hip wiggle) while I waited for the kettle to boil. I stretched, and tried to straighten my left elbow, which I injured last week. I looked at my reflection in the kitchen window (it was still half-dark outside) and saw my arm is still pretty crooked.

After a cup of tea and a quick look at The Age on my iPad, I left my flat, and walked in my bare feet towards the street. There was a cool breeze that ruffled my sleep-mussed hair. I stood in our driveway. A woman walked past with her dog. I could just see the little snow pea seedlings I planted in the front garden last week. They looked happy in their new home. As I came back inside, I checked that there was clean water in the birdbath under the silver birch tree.

You get the idea. I was having such a good time that I extended my To-do-free morning to two hours.

Busy, busy

Somehow, being busy has become a badge of honour. ‘Good, thanks’ is no longer the common answer to the question, how are you? The answer is ‘busy’, ‘too busy’, or ‘very busy’.

I’d like to change my answer to ‘relaxed’ or ‘just enjoying life’. I’ve wanted to do that for a long time, but somehow the To-do list grabs me in its teeth every weekday and shakes me by the neck ‘till all my resolve is gone.

How, not what

OK, don’t get me wrong – I love my life, I love my work, I love the people I work with. This not about what I do, it is about how I do it.

Never before has it occurred to me to reclaim my mornings as a time to potter. In fact, more often, I’m adding yet another task – write in my diary, do 15 minutes of my book or my blog, do yoga, do exercise, do, do, do.

This morning, I was just a human, being.


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About the author: Kath Walters is a regular guest at Griffins Hill yoga retreat, and helps us write and edit our blogs and regular e-newsletters. She is a former Fairfax journalist of 16 year’s experience.


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