October 24, 2008

Not Doing Now

A few years back, one of my wise women role models gave me a tip for finding peace with what I thought was the tension between all the ideas that my brain likes to generate and the finite nature of a day - that whole 24 hours thing.

Instead of a to do list, she recommended creating a Doing Now List, a Not Doing Now List, and a Never Doing Now List. More on the Never Doing Now List tomorrow, but in the meantime...I've fallen head over heels in love with my Not Doing Now List.

The concept is not unlike another instruction I once received from a donor I worked with in my former career. He asked whether I'd been to China. When I replied, "No, I haven't had that opportunity," he replied, "You haven't had that opportunity yet."

As a mama, the available hours in a day have had to become even more focused. My Not Doing Now List gives me permission to become completely enamored with an idea while also being realistic about existing priorities. I reserve it for the things that I want to daydream about and absolutely will do, but am not going to focus on at the moment. Items on the list sort of choose their time to move onto my Doing Now List...this blog, for instance, had been on my Not Doing Now List since June. An earlier start would have compromised existing commitments, but by committing to Not Doing It Now for many months, I was able to love it without compromising anything.

A few recent additions to my Not Doing Now List:
  1. Read Naomi Wolf's book Give Me Liberty: A Handbook for American Revolutionaries
  2. Submit an article for publication to Attachment Parenting International's publication, API Speaks
  3. Organize a Mama Bliss Day, somehow getting massage therapists, manicurists, and other yummy pampering professionals to provide free services to moms for a day, while organized activities were available for partners to do with kids.


epiphanygirl said...

What a great idea! Right now the only think on my "not doing now" list is making that list, because I am trying to focus on the actual now of having a day to write fiction, but I know that it will come. Thank you!

GooberMonkey said...

Blessings, eg! This list for me is usually a mental one. I LOVE starting new projects and have to work to maintain my discipline over the long haul. So when something occurs to me and I really, really want to do it but know that I can't without causing trouble somewhere else, I reassure myself with the knowledge that I can just not do it now!

naturally nina said...

I love this idea. I am such a self-pampering fanatic. I will help organize whenever that "now" happens. :)