Discover the power of becoming a list writer

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VERITY LUSH: Spending squillions to point out the blindingly obvious

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I had a moment of clarity today after one of those mornings that left me sat on the edge of my bed sobbing into my hands with despair.

We have a lot on our plates these days. At the bare minimum, we want to be good parents, earn enough for a decent family life, hold down a relationship, keep food in the fridge, keep on top of the bills and keep the house clean.

We have parent evenings, school workshops, homework to help with and forms to fill in.

Then there are the other niggling guilts when we feel we should be doing more – keeping up with friends, doing our bit for the school, exercising.

Just writing about it is making me want to go for a big nap.

Sometimes there are so many balls up in the air that you fail to realise you’ve slipped off the tightrope and are hurtling towards the ground at high speed. It is extremely hard to strike a balance and some fragment of life always seems to suffer from neglect.

In my home there is usually at least one area in complete disarray – a room that looks like it needs re-decorating, scrubbing, or just nuking and starting over.

But today, wherever I look, something needs my attention. There are piles of things on top of piles of things and it’s not just my house – every area of my life seems to have descended into collective disorder.

So, it was as I wailed into my hands hysterically this morning that I had my clarifying moment; life is a bit like a big pile of mud.

We need to keep trudging through or else we’ll get stuck, perhaps even get dragged down. Sometimes, rarely, the sun comes out and dries up the mud, allowing us to skip happily upon its solid surface. It is usually at this point – during a brief period of blissful obliviousness – that a nearby river overflows and before you can say ‘anyone seen my wellies?’ you are knee deep in it again.

I know this all sounds a bit negative, but I wanted to let you in on the secret of what saved me today as I feel it is important; I made a cup of tea and I made a list.

Maybe you’re wondering why I’m sharing this entirely ungroundbreaking piece of information with you, but it is because I tend to bob along thinking I’m capable of organising information in my head without the use of outside aids. As it turns out, I’m not.

It took someone else to remind me about the brilliance of lists – the whole getting the chaos out of your head and in front of you where you can organise it into what’s very important, what’s not so important and what can wait until next year – and I felt that, should you also find yourself going through something similar right now, you could benefit from such a reminder.

My life is in as much disarray as before. But now I have a really big list to prove it and somehow because of that, I feel like I’ve regained a small fragment of control.