I have a to-do list of things that I do around the house to keep things organized, clean, and somewhat clutter free. I have tasks broken down on a monthly basis, with some tasks set to perform monthly (e.g. re-organizing the pantry shelves to group all of our canned goods in like types and make sure the ones set to expire first are in the front), quarterly (cleaning out under sinks and making sure there are no leaks), semi-annually (cleaning and treating the leather couches), or even annually (replacing the filter in the furnace humidifier).
It occurred to me that I should add some other tasks. These tasks might have nothing to do with the house or cleaning or clutter or anything those lines. These tasks would simply relate back to one thing:
Sometimes, I find that I get so focused in taking care of things on the list that I don't take time to do some simple things, which are probably more important. Too often, it's so easy to get caught up in making sure things are clean and organized that I might overlook some of these simple things:
Petting My Cats
My wife doesn't get this one because she's not really a cat person, and both of our cats were mine before we got married, and are pretty much my cats alone. They both love to lay on my lap and simply purr. They'll usually sniff out when I'm sitting down for something like watching TV or making a phone call, but it'd be nice to give them some dedicated time, especially since they are both old (one just turned 17 and the other will be 13 in July) so who knows how long they have left.
Play With My Kids
It's awesome that kids love to play so much, and so awesome that sometimes you forget how wonderful it is to play with them. My three year old (soon to be four in just 3 weeks!) will sometimes ask me specifically to play with him, and if I'm in the middle of something or planning on doing something, it's easy to tell him that I'm busy or that I can try later, but I've been trying to catch myself and give the time. The last thing I ever want is for my kids to hear the song ‘Cats In the Cradle' later in life and think, ‘That's my dad.'.
Call A Friend
Ten years ago, I was single, as were most of my friends, and many of us were located geographically close, so we saw each other all the time. Even if we didn't, the fact that most of us were living the bachelor life meant that phone calls were pretty frequent. We stayed in touch all the time. Fast forward ten years, and most of us are married, have kids, have a house, and have taken on more in our career. We'd all be considered pretty successful, but we've all noticeably drifted apart. We cherish the times that we do spend together, and when I do get together with a friend, the inevitable conclusion is reached that ‘We really need to spend more time together, this is great' only to promptly go back to our lives and have time pass.
Spend Time With A Loved One
Do I spend enough time with my wife? With my parents? With people that, though you haven't drifted part, that you know are so important that you don't want to take the time you spend for granted or make it routine. Maybe turning this into a date night, or a dinner with one set of our parents, or my wife's sister, would be a good thing.
Time For Myself
I grew up an only child, and on top of that I was more the loner type when I grew up. As such, I got used to spending time alone, and I actually find myself still needing that from time to time. Having a few hours of alone time resets me and actually makes my interactions with my loved ones better. It's easy to scratch that off the list, but I think in the end, it's important enough to track.
If you read between the lines from everything I've said, it's pretty easy to see that I've got a lot to be thankful. I have a wonderful wife, kids, parents, family, and friends. I have a house that has a lot of great things. It's easy to get so caught up in what you have to do that you forget to stop and take time to realize how good you have it, and thank God for providing so well.
Now, it'd be nice to think that these things come automatically, and while I like to think that I have the personality to do all of these things without having to be reminded, I figure that a reminder never hurts.
Readers, how do you remember to keep a balance of how you spend your time, making sure to spend time with the things that are really important?