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This post is the complement to my previous one. Rather than examine the big picture, today I want to take a look at the details.

Most days, I feel like I’m chipping away at life. And it’s the details of life — my daily to-dos — that cause me to feel this way. A phone call, a bill paid, an appointment scheduled, a friend penciled in, a grocery list written down.

Sometimes it’s mundane, like paying rent or grabbing bananas at the store. Sometimes I love the thrill of figuring it all out — changing all sorts of accounts and other documents to reflect my married name. Sometimes it’s plain painful to get through one task — this, for me, would be tracking our spending and budget each month.

Most days, I just want to forget all the need-to-be-accomplished things and make cookies, have a glass of tea (or wine), curl up, read a book, and climb in bed. So, sometimes I do. Although I’m really not one to procrastinate, most things on my to-do list can survive waiting a day or two.

If I put off shopping, for instance, I can come up with some fantastic dish that I didn’t even realize I had all the ingredients to. If I stay home instead of running to the bank/post office/Target, I can clean. You should know cleaning is my all-time favorite procrastination method.

Despite my stall tactics, things must get done. So, I’ve come to appreciate what works for me.

• I’m super motivated in the mornings. I try to do some things before I leave for work. I often will make phone calls where I’ll probably be on hold while I’m driving to work.
• Lists, lists and more lists. Those three are typically short-term, long-term and groceries.
• Prioritizing. I try to do a few of my short-term tasks, which usually are more pressing, each day. Then, when I can, I get to some of the less timely ones.
• Break things down. So one perpetual to-do item is finishing our budget from the past few months. I have been working on one month at a time. It’s much less daunting that doing five months all at once.
• Have something going on in the background to distract me. This may sound odd at first, but I’m much more productive if I have reruns of a sitcom on the TV. It’s like a little bit of noise makes me zone in. DVDs work well because there are no commercials to annoy me. Sometimes music will do the trick as well.

Earlier today I had a thought: There will never be nothing to do. So, I’ll continue chipping away, however slowly it seems I’m going. Oh — the one place there may be nothing to do? Vacation.

— Kimberly