The Tired Caregiver’s Guide to Starting The To Do List

I found an ice scraper in the car yesterday. It had been there the whole summer, a symptom of shifted attention.

A Million Little StonesHelping my parents was a sudden call to action. There were tests, appointments, and assessments. There was cooking, cleaning, laundry, and time away from work. I enjoyed the time with my parents, but didn’t realize the impact it had on my energy level.

There were five months of intense assistance, followed by three more months before services were in place. It has settled down now, but there are times when I am still tired. It’s harder to get going on a task at home.

Whatever your reason for being tired, there are ways to find motivation and take action. These helped me have more energy and complete a task on my list.


Do you have a never-ending to do list? I do. It can be long, especially when my attention has been somewhere else. I considered what I most wanted to accomplish. It was the car. If I didn’t clean it now, I wouldn’t all winter. I’d feel so much better with a clean car.

I was relieved when my perspective changed from an overwhelming list to just one task.


Even one task can be too big. When I clean the car, typically I:

  • Vacuum
  • Dust
  • Remove the junk
  • Tidy up all the compartments
  • Clean the inside windows
  • Clean out the trunk
  • Wash the car
  • Clean the outside windows

I needed to make it manageable.  The list made me exhausted before I even started.

Instead, I decide to tidy and vacuum. It was so simple to focus on the inside and quite a relief to know that when it was done I could do something more enjoyable. I’d do it as if there was nothing else to do and that nothing else mattered.

Do it

I shook out the floor mats and vacuumed up a million little stones. I threw a few things away and put others in a different place.

Out with the paper from the chocolate-dipped cone I ate on the way home from a long work trip. Out with the abandoned water bottle cap. The gas receipt went in the house. I cleaned my sunglasses and threw away the outdated insurance cards.

I cleaned out the compartment under the shifter that collects things. In the end, I got it down to one pen, sunscreen, lotion, lip balm, flashlight, phone charger, tire pressure gauge, and an umbrella. What are your car essentials?


Ahhh! When I finished it brought so much satisfaction. What needed to be done was done. The task was complete.

What about you?

What’s one task you’d like to focus on? How can you keep it small and simple? What would bring you a sense of satisfaction?

image credit: The bike trail 2013©Marie LaForce

Marie LaForce About Marie LaForce

Writer | Photographer | Explorer |Dreamer | Intentional Disciple of Christ

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