Make a To Do List for Fun Stuff Too!

I cannot get anything done without a to do list. 

Written down on paper. Digital to do lists simple do not, uh, do it for me.

I’ve been this way as long as I can remember in my professional world. To my left perpetually sits either a pad of paper with a daily task list, or, since I discovered the planner of my dreams.

Somewhere in the mountains of trash is a perfect representation of my professional life, in daily slices, page after page of “Things to Do” for someone else. 

During the early days of the pandemic, when we were all holed up for ages, I started adding household tasks to the list. You know, clean the kitchen, fold the laundry, clean the bath bomb residue out of the bathtub. 

I did it because it felt good to check them off.

And let’s be honest, it was way more likely that they’d get done if they were staring at me in my face.

Especially since, if I didn’t check it off on one day, then I’m adding it to the next one!

But the dopamine I get from checking a task offa my list helps me get through the day. 

I didn’t make the connection that each task check off was like a mini-hit of dopamine until a few years ago. Once I realized that I leaned into it more, so that I could get more done, more efficiently. 

Again, all work or chore related. 

A couple months ago, Mickey and I were sitting here at the Professor Haus with one of his long (4 day) weekends open wide in front of us.

Our problem? We couldn’t remember what we wanted to do.

This is a thing that happens with our neurodivergent brains. We come up with a million ideas based on things we’ve researched or seen on the Internet or whatever, but then when it’s time to do things we forget what we wanted to do. 

So we wind up going to Ace Hardware to buy corn lobs for the squirrels, or eating the best caesar salads in the state at Mugly’s (where I hope they have a slice of warm chocolate cake leftover), or do my favorite one-two punch in Detroit – Third Man Records and Bon Bon Bon

And we have fun, because we can find fun in the middle of literal nowhere. We have proved it.  

But it doesn’t feel right, because we know there are other things on the “list”, we are simply unable to access the list at this time. So, things feel a little off. 

Then one day, when I was writing down my daily task list, I added some fun things I wanted to do. You know: blog, art, paint my rolly table in the office, watch “The White Lotus”, read some of my book about filmmaking from the 1940s.. The things that make me happy. 

Or fill me up, as it were. 

Now, when there was something we wanted to do on a specific date, I put that in my planner! So we didn’t miss out on those things. 

But there were still the ‘all the time’ things we were missing out on. 


Then one day, I had the bright idea to put a whiteboard in the kitchen.

It promptly fell down 2 weeks later because I am not a construction human and the double-sided stuff didn’t do the job, so now it rests on a windowsill over the kitchen radiator. 

On this whiteboard, we put the things we want to do (and some of the things we need to do, but do not want to because they are not fun.)

It’s worked so well, y’all. 

We knocked a lot of stuff offa out list before the dry erase marker got eaten up by the Professor Haus. You can also see there are a few things we haven’t gotten done yet.

And even more we won’t get to this year.

See ya next year, cider mill! 

So, if you’re a to-do list person like I am, I highly recommend putting some stuff just for yourself on it every day. You deserve to accomplish fun and joy, too!!!

And then if you’re not checking those things off your list – maybe take a step back and wonder why someone else’s priorities are taking precedence over your own.



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