Like nature, my to-do list abhors a vacuum

By Jeanne Reynolds

I’m writing this on a Monday afternoon in mid-December — a somewhat random day off work just to avoid losing vacation days as the window of opportunity quickly closes.

Wow, a whole day off just for me, with no doctor’s appointments, errands or family duties. So much free time just to read, relax or do whatever I want.

Yeah, right.

It started that way. Then I decided it would be the perfect time to submit online matching gift forms for my year-end charitable donations, address and stamp and stuff Christmas cards, bake my special gingerbread men that I give co-workers every year, wrap a few gifts, reorder a gift I already bought because the vendor just notified me it’s sold out, pick up air filters for all the air returns in the house (there are at least four, each a different size, so I also have to figure out where I wrote that information last year or get the ladder out of the garage and measure them), and oh, what’s that grungy stuff splashed all over the back of the pantry door, and when was the last time this sugar canister was washed?

And so it goes. This happens to me all the time — no, correction: I do this to myself all the time. I overbook and cram too much into my “time off” so the feeling of accomplishment from crossing so many things off my to-do list is outweighed by the feeling of resentment that I can’t take a simple day off and I never get it all done.


Wait, back up a minute. I may have stumbled on the real issue here. I never get it all done because it never will be all done. Even if I draw a solid black line through every task on the list, 3 or a dozen more will leap into their places. I don’t know if it’s a female thing or a perfectionist thing or what, but there’s always going to be more to get done than I and a small army can do.

I keep thinking if I really slam it today, I can enjoy my free time tomorrow because the list will be cleared off. But no, like flipping over an hourglass so the sand runs inexorably from the top to the bottom, the list will fill, fill, fill again.

So what’s the answer? I probably could take a cue from the song in the animated film Frozen: Let it go.

Honestly, I’m not sure I can. At 60 I’m not likely to change my DNA. But maybe I can try some baby steps. Like today: I stopped what I was doing late this afternoon and went to have a pedicure, a favorite treat I enjoy only once a year or so. And it was lovely (can I get one of those massaging chairs installed in my car?).


Ladies, let’s give ourselves permission to put down the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser once in a while, close the door to the closet that looks like Mount Vesuvius erupted again, and enjoy some guilt-free down time. I’ll try if you will.


Because I have to say those baby steps are going to look pretty good with these awesome toes.



Just Say No

By: Chaunte McLure 

When I was in elementary and maybe middle school, “just say no” was a popular phrase that stemmed from an anti-drug marketing campaign headed by the late Nancy Reagan.

just say noJust Say No clubs across the world were born out of it resulting in a one-third decrease in cocaine use by high school seniors, according to

Thirty years or so later, I find myself wanting to reinstate “Just Say No” as an anti-busy campaign. I need to be a part of this Just Say No Club and you should probably join, too.

Do you find yourself always trying to be so kind to others that you find it difficult to say no to their requests? Do you hate to pass up a great opportunity knowing you don’t have time to dedicate to it because of other commitments? Do you feel like you have to say yes when someone who’s a part of an organization you’re in asks you to do yet another task? Do you think you must accept an invitation just because someone was thoughtful enough to invite you?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, please join me in the Just Say No Club. Membership is free and the only obligation is to say no, without guilt, when someone asks you to do something that you clearly don’t have time to do.

Be prepared because folks will try to make you feel guilty if you turn down their request. They’ll make you feel like you’re not dedicated and they might even stop talking to you for a while. That’s okay!

I’d rather someone be mad at me than for me to experience anxiety and stress because I’ve taken on too many things to do and have neglected what should have been my priority. Your health, well-being and priorities come first. Remember that. I have to be reminded, too. As a matter of fact, this blog serves as my reminder. I’ve decided to stop trying to do everything and be everywhere for everybody.

So, will you join the club?