I’m trying to stay on task

My to-do list seems to be ever-growing. I’m sure you know what I mean.

I need to go grocery shopping. I need to take both of my cats for a check-up, give them a bath and get them a flea treatment before it warms up outside. I need to wash my car and get an oil change. I need to deep clean my apartment and cleanse my wardrobe and closet of everything I don’t need anymore.

Like most, the weekend is the only time I have to accomplish these tasks. So, I have to balance my personal, relaxing time with my household duties.

I’ve been struggling lately with this and getting any of these things on the list finished. I blame my cell phone and love of reading for this dilemma.

I usually come home from work, eat something for dinner and throw myself into my social media and/or television apps. Recently, my iPhone has been sending me a weekly usage update that tells the exact hours that I’ve stayed on my phone that week and if it increased or decreased since the week before. At first, I really didn’t appreciate this unannounced intrusion into my time-wasting, but now I see it as a reminder to cut down on my screen time.

So, instead of staring at my cell phone screen every evening, I started reading more books, usually just frivolous romantic comedy novels (my guilty pleasure) to pass the time.

However, this past weekend I was determined to get something done. So, I bought some groceries and made sure I had plenty of trash bags and paper towels so that I could focus on cleaning.

Saturday morning came and I made my first mistake, I picked up a partially read book right after waking up. Now, you might say “Emily, reading is not a wasteful pastime,” and in most cases you’d be right. But, when it turns into two full days of nothing but snacking and reading, it’s a problem.

By lunchtime, I had finished my first book. That afternoon, I went to Walmart where I knew they carried the sequel in the series and I “got to work” on the second one. It was only around bedtime when I finished my second book. I looked at the clock and realized I had just read a 328-page book in the span of five or six hours. I was appalled at myself. How could I use my entire weekend stuck in my room reading romance novels when my house and car were a mess?

My goal for this month is to get everything on my list finished. Let’s just say, next weekend I’m going to have to lock away the cell phone and my precious books that never hurt anyone, but me.

Do any of you have tips for staying on task for a to-do list? Send me email or letters with your suggestions.

Emily Kirby is a staff writer for the Times-Journal. Her column runs every Tuesday. She can be reached at ekirby@times-journal.com.

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