Sunday, March 27, 2011

Motivation Monday - The "To do list" Experiment

I sat down and made a list on the first day of spring break and then began prioritizing. Of course there were things that naturally seemed the most important so they received a high ranking. All of the "shoulds and have-to's" ended up at the top and, as usual, the things I wanted to do were at the bottom; things like day trips to visit aunts, uncles, cousins and family locations. I know from past experience what happens to the things at the end of my lists. I rarely get to them. They get listed under "Things to do next time I have a break".

This year I did something shocking and unheard of! I turned my list upside-down and made spring break an actual break! Okay, I did pay the bills first... but then I let myself have fun! 
  • I used my wait time on Saturday to really reread an article that has information about my GrGrandmother. Using my iPhone, I was able to actually get an address, email and phone number of 3 people in the article that might be able to help me with my research.
  • I let myself spend time researching some ancestors online and putting documents into notebooks.
  • Monday morning, I visited with Mildred, my husband's aunt, and picked up two big boxes of old pictures that she wanted to get to my mother-in-law, Helen. Mildred,89, showed me the books she is putting together to tell her life story and her husband's.
  • I traveled on to McPherson to visit my aunt and uncle, 89 and 88, respectively, on their farm. Uncle Don has a love for genealogy and holds a lot of information for my dad's side of the family. I wanted to ask him some questions about my great uncles, Emil and Reuben Johnson, but got much more than that. On the way to the farm, I gave my dad, 89, a call and of course, he had another story about Grandpa Johnson that I had never heard before. Amazing how that can happen after all of these years!
  • I stopped to get pictures of the barn that is still standing at the farm where my dad was raised and then wandered through the cemetery where many of the Johnson's are buried.
  • Tuesday I spent time with my kids and the newest twig of our family tree, my grandson, Jesse. That evening my daughter and I took the boxes of pictures to my in-law's house. We spent several hours with Helen, 89, and Harry, 90, looking through pictures, telling stories and laughing. It was a nice evening that I wouldn't have wanted to miss by putting it lower on my list. I finally got to see the faces of people that I had only heard of.
  • Thursday I traveled to Hutchinson to help my cousin get ready for a Rutkowski/Warnken reunion that we are having in May. I don't know how we do it but we get a lot done for all the laughing and joking around! Letters mailed and activities planned!
  • Friday I was just "Grandma". 12 hours of Jesse still isn't enough but I'm happy for all the time I can get!
  • Scattered through the week were lunches and/or conversations with friends and a few long phone calls.
  • Saturday and Sunday provided a little bit of time to work on "the rest of the list".
I may have to do some of the "shoulds" in the evenings this week but I feel like I had a real break this year and so far I have no regrets about turning my list upside-down. I feel that it has boosted my motivation to keep going with my genealogy work (or should I say play?).


  1. Shari, I have passed on to you the One Lovely Blog Award. You can get your award at:

    Enjoy, and congrats!
    (and kudos for taking time to do the things you WANT to do on your break!)

  2. Thank you, Jenny! I will start looking for my 15 new blogs! Thanks also for the validation of my spring break decision, also!

  3. Sometimes you have to pay yourself first (after the bills!). Congrats on taking some time for yourself!