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The Smart Mom Manual

‘All Done’: A New Kind of Checklist

By: Winnie Yu

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For years, I followed the common wisdom of creating a to-do list to help me keep track of everything I needed to do. I jotted down phone calls I had to make, groceries I needed to buy, bills I had to pay and everything else that I had to accomplish in my jam-packed days. I kept it reasonable -- no more than eight items or so -- knowing that too many to-dos were likely to make me freeze up.

Even so, some days, just looking at my to-do list was enough to make me break into a cold sweat. And then, as each item was crossed off, I’d feel the burden lift until I felt completely light and relaxed by the end of the day. Then I’d do the same thing the next day.

Making a to-do list achieved what I needed most at the time: an organized way to keep track of things that had to get done. (Here’s how to write a smart to-do list.) But for my sanity, I’d prefer to keep another kind of list: an all-done list.

You might wonder, why bother? Unlike the to-do list, the all-done list doesn’t overlook the things we do that come so automatically to us moms, things that don’t necessarily wind up on the to-do list but still manage to get done. The laundry. The phone call to mom. The banking. The dog walks. The trips to the recycling bin … you get the idea.

So now, if I want to give myself a pat on the back at the end of the day, I write down everything I did that day -- from carting the kids home from track practice to purchasing a birthday card.

After all, if we don’t celebrate our achievements, who will?


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Winnie Yu

is Completely You’s mom blogger. She has two daughters (Samantha, 14, and Annie, 12) and is the author of seven books, including New Mother’s Guide to Breastfeeding and What to Eat for What Ails You. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Woman’s Day, AARP Bulletin, Prevention and WebMD.com.

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