Toppling the To-Do-Lists

My father has always been a list maker. Whether it was packing stuff to go on vacation, things to do, or a very detailed budget, he had a list. As you can imagine, we have quite the series of lists for the farm. Every enterprise has a list. Every month until July has a list, and we make at least one list every time we go down for what we are going to do that weekend.

I don’t know if you can identify with having so many lists, but I am sure you all understanding having some type of list (even if it is a mental checklist) of things to do. The amazing part about lists of things to do is that they get bigger a lot easier than they get smaller. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It means that you know exactly what you need to do. Here is how we go about managing our to-do-lists:

1) Just Start. None of our lists are short. They are huge, both because they are exhaustive and because we have a ton of stuff to do. That is what happens when you start up a farm. It has the potential to be overwhelming when there is so much to do, but then there is that tried and true coping method of just getting started. You always feel better once you are actively doing something to make your list smaller, and of course, there is something empowering about crossing things off of a to-do-list.

2) Do the most pressing things on the list first. There are always things on the list that can wait until tomorrow, or next week, or even next month. Your goal should be to find all of the things on the list that can’t wait until tomorrow and get them done immediately. Then work your way through. We never get everything on our lists done, and it is reassuring to look back over the last few months and see all of the things we have done despite that. If we can continue to get the most pressing things done on the list, I can assure you that A LOT of things will be happening on the Hust Roost.

3) Understand that what is going to get done will get done, and what won’t won’t. We keep adding things to our lists at an alarming rate. Pretty soon the things we didn’t get done in January will slide into the February list, and Dad will have detailed July, August, and September lists all set and raring to go. At first, I was a bit overwhelmed when we would only get half of our to-do-list done, but God has quickly taught us that we will get done what we will get done and that all we can do is keep on keeping on. You need to work hard, but at the end of the day, you can’t let yourself stress over what didn’t get done. This is made easier by following managing method number two.

4) Be willing to change your plans. Things are going to come up. Things will suddenly take over the top spot of urgency. Everything else will be pushed down. Sometimes you just won’t get to things. We were hoping to start rabbits last summer. That didn’t happen. They never were a high priority compared to other things, and so we all decided to push it to this summer. They are higher on the list than last year, and the extra time has already allowed us to begin preparations.

5) Enjoy the tasks at hand. It can be easy to get caught up in all of the work or to stress about it, and I am sure we will have our share of both, but in the midst of it all, we want to enjoy starting up our farm. There will certainly be some unenjoyable moments, but we don’t intend to miss the pleasure of the tasks at hand or the pleasure that comes from the task at hand. We find so much beauty in much of what we are doing (which is a big reason we are doing it!). Missing out on this would take a big chunk out of the reason for doing it in the first place.

6) Trust God. “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9, New King James Version). God is the one in control, and giving glory to Him is our goal. If He wants something to get done, it will get done. On the other hand, if He doesn’t want something to get done, despite all of our efforts, it wouldn’t get done. We are His above everything else, and worrying how things are going to work out is a form of doubting that God will use it for His glory. We are to give Him honor when things are going well and when things are going poorly. Overall, we know the end of the story: God wins.

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