A Powerful To Do List

This study that I just read about suggests that powerful people are notoriously bad at estimating how long it’ll take to complete tasks. When I first saw the headline (Powerful People Often Too Optimistic About Task Time), I thought of my to-do list immediately.

It turns out that my thought was pretty tangential. The article didn’t have anything to do with scheduling or length of to-do lists. But I couldn’t help but think of how overly optimistic I generally am about my to-do lists. I rarely complete every item on my to-do list.

But I’d be willing to bet that my optimism manages to get an awful lot more done in a day than the “realistic” person who puts three items on their to-do list.

Today is shaping into a pretty productive day–so my list might be a bit (5ish items) longer than normal–but this is fairly typical of my daily to-do lists:
(I’ve italicized completed tasks.)

Morning routine

Make bed

  • Get up
  • Make bed
  • Dress to shoes
  • Fix Hair
  • Makeup
  • Breakfast
  • Devotions
  • Brush teeth
  • Swish and swipe
    This is wiping down my sink and toilet as well as doing a quick scrub of the toilet bowl. It’s a FlyLady technique–and I adore it.

Copying Scripture

  • Word
    I’m going through a Bible reading schedule from “The Lookout” (a Christian magazine, I think). It’s a through-the-Bible-in-a-year plan that has readings from the Old Testament, a wisdom book, a gospel, and another New Testament book every day. I’ve enjoyed the format immensely.
  • Prayer
  • Memory
    I’ve been trying to step up my Scripture memory a bit more (and practice it regularly). I add a new (or an old familiar that I need to get word perfect) about every week or so. For now, the notecards in my purse for daily review are Gen 1:1-2, Gen 1:26-28, Deut 6:4-6, Deut 32:46-47, Josh 1:8, Ps 1, Ps 23, Rom 8:37-39, and Rom 12:1-2
  • Copy
    I’m trying to copy down the whole Bible. I know. It’s absolutely crazy. It’ll probably be a lifetime work. But I was inspired by Deuteronomy 16:18 which commands the king of Israel to write for himself a copy of the Word of God. I have maybe 50 or 60 chapters in the looseleaf binder I’ve devoted to the project. I’ve been working on it in fits and starts for three or four years. So it’s slow progress, but I’m not planning on giving up anytime soon.
  • Worship
    This is a concentrated time of musical worship–but it takes different forms. Sometimes it’s working through a hymnal, sometimes it’s taking a walk and singing, sometimes it’s borrowing my folks’ piano, sometimes it’s worshipping along with a CD.
  • Listen to sermon
    With occasional breaks, I’m working through John Piper’s series on John that he started in 2009. I just finished listening to the third sermon on The Woman at the Well
  • Write tithe check
    I get paid at the end of each month–but since the check is automatically deposited, unless I’m proactive, I’ll forget how much my tithe check needs to be by the time Sunday rolls around. So I write the check as soon as I get my “advice” (which tells me what I earned.)


  • Homework with SAS
    I have to do any assignments that require SAS on campus–so it’s a bit more work than normal
  • Print lab
    There are a half-a-dozen things that have to be printed before statistics lab each week.
  • Grade and record student homework assignments
  • Write and copy quiz for lab tomorrow
  • Read and comment on student presentation for tomorrow
  • Attend Statistic lecture (1 hour)
  • Attend Statistics lab (2 hours)
  • Pick up pay advice
  • Work on survey
    I’ve done some work on this, but I’d like to do a bit more before I call it quits for the day.
  • Work on paper


  • Tidy living area
  • Vacuum living area
  • Set up new craft upstairs
    I like to have some sort of handwork all set up so I can pick it up while listening to sermons or watching videos on my computer. I finished my Christmas napkin holder yesterday, so I gathered the materials for some felted and embroidered Christmas ornaments today.
  • Make lunch
    A BLT with a side of sauteed asparagus, onions, and orange peppers. Yummmy!
  • Get mail
  • Make Roasted Vegetable Cassoulet
    CassouletA rather involved recipe–and not quite as good as I’d have liked. It was good but not fantastic.
  • Check furnace filter
  • Check Casandra’s toilet
    It’s been refilling every hour or so, indicating that there’s some sort of slow leak going on. I messed with it a bit and haven’t heard it run since–so we might be good. (Then again, I can’t tell for sure until it’s been used some more.)
  • Dishes


  • Islam
    That would be Unveiling Islam, the book I’ve been commenting on. I’m reading about a chapter a day.
  • Children’s Picture books
    I read 2 or 3 of these a day in my quest to read through my local library.
  • Once Upon a Summer
    A novel by Janette Oke, this is usually bedtime reading–a couple three chapters at a time.
  • Letting Go
    My right before bed reading, this is a book/Bible study on grieving. My mom suggested that I look up some grieving resources and so far, this one has been pretty helpful.
  • Biology
    One chapter a day, High School Review Biology.
  • Words to Live By
    Again, a chapter or so a day gets me through.


  • Fun Post
    That’s this one!
  • Islam
    A post for tomorrow on the chapter I’ve read in Unveiling Islam–except that I haven’t read it yet.
  • Blog Read
    I follow 80 blogs and I’m about halfway through my list (Thankfully, not everyone posts every day!)
  • Roll a Burrito
    Halfway done with a post on how to roll a burrito (with lots of pictures)
  • 10 Big Lies
    A review of a book I finished recently
  • Blue Zone Notes
    Notes on a book I just finished reading
  • Log Books
    Recording the books I’ve recently finished reading.


  • Bicycle
    40 minutes or so. I rode to class and took the long way back.
  • Schedule Doctors appointment
  • Library
    Return 20 books, get the 7 children’s picture books that are on hold, plus a few more.
  • Gas for car
  • Car wash
  • University bill
  • Rent and utility bills
    Divying up bills is going to take a bit more time for the next couple of months because we just got a new roommate. I’ve got to try to figure out what proportion of which bills which of us has to cover. Joy.
  • Get caramel from campus
    We made it in lab last week, but I hadn’t brought it home yet. Now it’s home.
  • Send in ADA membership renewal
  • Get furnace filters, battery for cyclecomputer
  • “Fellowship” at Mickey D’s


  • Computer off
  • Set out clothes
  • Bathe
  • Wipe tub
  • Lotion
  • PJs
  • Meds
  • Floss
  • Brush teeth
  • Recharge cell phone
  • Go to bed

Now that’s one powerful to-do list.

But, I can’t spend too much more time on this specific task–I’ve got a dozen or so still to complete before I settle in for the night. Ciao!

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