Don’t Put People On Your Task List

People On Your Task List
This post was previously published. It has been updated.

Do you have people on your task list?

My then-five-year-old spotted her name at the top of my task list. She wanted to know what it meant, and I explained to her that it was there so I would make sure to play with her.

After she left the room, I had an earth-shaking “what is wrong with this picture” moment. My family should NOT be an item on my task list, ready to be checked off.

Putting Family on a List is not a Good Idea

After my initial awakening, the humor of the situation caught me. I could see my task list: Play with daughter, 15 minutes; Done. Talk to spouse about day, 5 minutes; Done. Pet cats two minutes per; Done. The thought of regimenting and fragmenting my time made me seem like a robot.

Luckily, my daughter was too young to understand the implications of her being on the list. If she were not on the list, would it mean she would be ignored? Not likely. But at the same time, there were evenings when the amount of items on my task list caused me to do proximity things: “color at your desk while mommy finishes this web update.”

The fact is, I don’t want my daughter’s memories of me to be tied to my computer.

Limiting my Tasks so that I Have Time

What I needed, and still need, to do is calibrate my task list so that I have free time just about every evening, that I can devote to strengthening my relationships. Time to decompress, time to relax and enjoy the important people in my life.

Is your family on your task list?