What is a ‘ta-da’ list and why do mums need one?

I think we are all familiar with that feeling. Maybe it’s the summer holidays and the children are home, your todo list is 8 miles long, but it gets to the end of the day and not only have you got hardly anything crossed off your to do list, what you did manage to do took all day when it was only a 15 minute task.

Sound familiar?

It’s frustrating.

So what can we do about it? What will help us to get into bed at the end of the day and actually feel like we got some things done?

Enter the ta-da list.

Essentially, a ta-da list is the opposite of a to-do list.

Instead of showing you all thing things that you need to do (and still have not done!) it tells you all the things that you actually HAVE done.

If we think about it for a second, we probably have a minimum of 10 things on our todo list for the day and maybe at the end of the day we haven’t crossed any of those things off because it feels like you haven’t actually had a second to yourself all day with the kids and their demands – but it’s not a case of you just stood there existing all day.

You have got things done.

And sometimes we need to take a second to acknowledge just how busy we are with all the background day-to-day stuff BEFORE we even get started on crossing off those things on our todo list.

If you have never done this before, it might shock you to realise how much you are actually doing.

It’s also probably the reason you get to the end of the day and feel exhausted even though you don’t feel like you’ve done anything and feel like a bad person for not getting stuff you needed to get done ticked off.

Let’s just all take a moment to acknowledge here that your productivity level has no link whatsoever with your worth.

So how does it work?

It can work in two ways, either:

  1. As you go about your day you jot down on your tada list what you have done, this can be on a piece of paper or a note on your phone
  2. At the end of the day you can look back and write down what you have done all day.

I prefer option 1, because by the end of the day, especially in the school holidays, I can’t really remember everything I’ve done and I want to have the full feel-good experience!

However, if you have no plan of making one, but one day get to the end of the day and just feel crap because of how little you feel that you did all day, I suggest you just grab a notebook and write it out then to help you see that you are actually a lot busier than you think!

mug watch and planner book on brown wooden surface

An example…

When the children were a lot smaller, I would do my morning routine and the school run, at the time Jac and Mali were in primary school which was a 5 minute drive down the road, drop them off and then do the hour round trip to get Anest to school then I would come home and be absolutely ravenous and it used to make me really annoyed because at the time I was trying to lose weight and I couldn’t understand why I was so hungry when I hadn’t even done anything yet.

So I complained to a friend (who is also a nutritionist) about it, and she told me to look at how much I was doing before I got home…

I would have:

  • Woken up and got myself ready – skin routine, makeup, hair, get changed
  • Woken the kids
  • Made breakfast for the kids
  • Told J & M about 800000 times it was time to get changed
  • Help them get dressed and brush their teeth
  • Sorted Anest’s feeding pump for her breakfast
  • Did some morning stretches with Anest
  • Got Anest ready for school
  • Make packed lunch
  • Get school bags ready
  • Get PE kits ready etc
  • Make sure Anest has all her feeding equipment etc for school
  • Get wheelchair in car if it wasn’t already
  • Fed the dog
  • Emptied dishwasher
  • Wiped down kitchen
  • Had breakfast
  • Sorted medication
  • Wiped down toothpaste splatters from sink
  • Made beds
  • Dropped J & M off in school
  • Dropped A off in school

When you write it all down, how much I was doing before the school run – it seems kind of obvious that of course I was hungry, look how much I did!

But if you don’t write it out step by step it’s more a case of ‘I don’t know whats wrong with me I am starving, all I’ve done is the school run’ – but it’s apparent from that list that ‘the school run’ isn’t just one task and I think I used to get more done in the morning before the school run than a lot of people manage to get done all day.

Why a ta-da list is important

Having a sense of accomplishment is important, which is an important part of well-being.

If you’ve ever got to the end of the day and feel like you haven’t managed to get anything done even though your to do list is 8 miles long, then you will know how horrible and de-moralising that feeling is. It’s such a heavy and overwhelming feeling.

So counter-acting it with a ta-da list that is actually helping us to see that we are doing a lot better and a lot more than we think we are will really help us to keep our mood elevated.

It’s very simple and I know that there is a chance you are reading this and nodding along but have no intention of ever actually doing it because who has time to make a list that isn’t a todo list…I encourage you to try it once, just to show you just how much you do in a day.

How often you decide to do it is up to you, maybe you make it a part of your routine and do it everyday for that sense of accomplishment, or maybe you do it as a every now and then thing when you feel like you need a bit of a boost.

There is no right or wrong answer, it’s whatever works for you.

Will you try it? Let me know!

Beth x

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