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Happiness_Full I just had to report how my new approach to time management is going. I have previously referred to it as Ta-Done, but I have taken to calling it my Happiness List instead.

Rather than drawing up a list of to-do's or even goals which has been my usual habit for years, I create a retrospective Happiness List each day that I share with a friend via email. I am so thrilled with this habit that I had to elaborate on it.

By only recounting my successes each day, I am never frustrated or disappointed with myself–at least not from a time-management perspective. My old habit of either scheduling my time or creating a list of things to get done during the day nearly always left me unhappy. I rarely (if ever) achieved everything I set out to. Now that I have no expectations for what I will accomplish, it's easy to do more than I dreamed I could! It's such a simple concept, but so powerful.

As a Christian, I leave room for God to direct my day without anxiety or anger. I even leave room for the people I love most to request things of me that actually get done. For example, my husband asked me to clean the kitchen floor the other night (he has conveniently failed to learn to use the FloorMate – lol). Ordinarily, I would have been resentful and probably wouldn't have done this because I would have hundreds of other tasks in mind vying for my attention. On this occasion I thought it was a perfectly good time to clean the floor. I was also delighted to wake up the next morning to a beautiful kitchen.

There are more benefits to a Happiness List, however. First, it functions as a self-esteem booster sans New Age silliness. I recount things that I have done that I am happy about doing.There are no buts allowed as in, "I got the kitchen floor done, but not the pantry." The point is to bring attention to what you've done well, so you'll be motivated to continue. I include character growth, too. I wrote how glad I was that I hadn't lost my temper when I tracked doggie doo-doo all the way down my white carpeted hallway.

The second added function of the Happiness List is as a gratitude journal. You needn't restrict your list to those things you've accomplished. You can proclaim your joy about those things God has done, too. I am thrilled to be able to eat delicious food and have good health, so that goes on my list. I have tried keeping a separate gratitude journal and love that I save time by combining it with other functions.

The third added function of the Happiness List is as a survival tactic. Traditional to-do lists get in the way when you have a lot of time-sensitive tasks to complete. Let's say you're getting ready to go on vacation. Do you really want to be reminded of other things you'd like to get done, but have no time for right now? These kinds of lists add to stress and confusion. I am getting ready to go camping and I have an electronic camping list. Because I do not have "clean out kids' bathroom closet" on my camping list, I can focus on getting into the great outdoors. The Lord is going to have to convince me to get that closet clean later. 🙂

The fourth and final added function of the Happiness List is as an encourager. Anticipating sending my list out each evening encourages me to do plenty of things to add to it! By sharing our positive accomplishments and gratitude with others, we invite them to the party, too. We remind those who read our list to be kind to themselves, focus on character rather than solely productivity, and to be thankful. In that spirit, here is my Happiness List for the day so far. Please share yours!

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I'm so glad I got up early and started my school day on time.

I am thrilled I got to spend the early morning talking with my husband about God's Word. Enjoying a delicious homemade coffee drink made with raw cream was a delight, too!

I am happy that I was able to help my homeschool friend find a less stressful curriculum for her son.

I am so relieved that I completed ten mail tasks that have been in my to-do box for months.

I am thankful that I continue to practice patience and love with my children, even when they aren't being particularly lovable. 😉

I am very grateful that my friend is feeling better and got to visit today for a while.

I am so glad another friend has allowed me to email her my Happiness List every day so I could know the joy of this process.

I am very happy to have taken the opportunity to share this blog post with you!

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