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Conquering the To-Do List

To commemorate the Fourth of July holiday weekend, Jim and I decided to celebrate by spending an inordinate amount of our free time on the phone with huge, gigantic corporations who are, in effect, swindling us out of money.

And trust me on this: having a menstrual-related migraine while talking to friendly (read: chipper college graduates with very high-pitched voices) but terribly inefficient phone reps is really the way to make this a holiday to remember.


I have been putting off these two calls in particular despite having gotten awful service for months now. Our TV channels rarely work correctly, but after having called and emailed the company many times to get a workable solution with no results, I just gave it up. This means we pay a company every month for really bad service (if any channels come in at all), but I just didn’t have it in me to call and sit on hold. Again. Same goes for my cell phone company. My dad would point out that companies like this are counting on customers like me to just give up the fight, to keep paying away while the company doesn’t have to fix the serious problems I’m having with it. I agree with him in many instances, including this hypothetical one.

I’m tempted to say that this unwillingness to take care of business has to do with my migraine disease. Maybe on days when I’m feeling productive and healthy, I don’t want to spend up to an hour and a half on the phone with someone who will make promises which will then go unfulfilled. On the other hand, I don’t want to spend sick days—days like today—witnessing a slowly-worsening migraine progress as I listen to someone make promises wish will then go unfulfilled.

But maybe I’m just lazy. Maybe the migraine has nothing to do whatsoever with my reluctance to take care of every day things. I am good at writing thank you notes but slow to send them. I pack up boxes of books to return to publishers but take forever to photocopy and process the paperwork it takes to make the returns official. I am good at checking things off my to do list, except for those 3 or 4 tasks that get moved from one calendar day to the next until I finally get fed up and either delete them from the calendar all together (shhh!) or just suck it up and do them.

Of course these pesky to-do list items get more obnoxious when I’m having a particularly bad migraine period.

Do I just need to get off my butt and be an adult and stop whining? Cause I sure do hate calling 800 numbers and sitting on hold, and I sure do like to think that maybe it’s not just my laziness—maybe it has to do with my migraine.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Dina Issa
    8 years ago

    I have learnt to USE my migraine days to get these boring tasks done. You are anyway bound to the house when having one and it free’s up your non-migraine days for having fun or working or whatever. I also find it gives me a sense of achievement despite the pain & suffering. That the day was not all lost. I usually organise the bills in a pile and write notes on each bill. I have clear and direct questions planned before I make the call so that the call can be made and taken care of quickly! Oh and always ask the operator their name, this sort of ensures that they do their job properly.

  • Danielle Turney
    8 years ago

    I have had to make those unwanted calls myself and the reason I put them off as much as possible is, because when I am done with the call I will have migraine. I hate that some of our businesses in the US have set up customer service centers in other countries. When you need to fix something or need help, it gets frustrating when you can’t understand what the person is telling you. I have had many over 1 hour conversations like this and they all end the same way, me frustrated and a migraine to boot.

  • Elaine Gross
    8 years ago

    My husband often tells me I put too much on myself. But to me the things I want to do, or get done seem like simple everyday stuff that I used to do so easily, but now are overwhelming and cause me to stress and worry and I end up with a migraine.

  • Karen Burtcher
    8 years ago

    I feel this way too, I try to stay away from situations like that because getting to upset could cause a mirgraine. so I let my husband handle them.

  • Maureen Baxter Douglas
    8 years ago

    I believe part of it is the migraine disease because life becomes so different with it. I have actually asked my husband to do more and more of these things because my good days are so rare and I hate wasting them on this kind of stuff. I used to do it all and would not procrastinate at all. Now I put it off until the very end.

  • Lori L. Paparteys
    8 years ago

    Same here. I think we share a brain hahaha I’m definitely in the same boat with much of what you post here, Janet!

  • Melissa Yusinski
    8 years ago

    I feel like we are very similar people. I do the same things you listed..procrastinate calling these companies, write thank yous and wait weeks (or longer 🙁 ) to mail them, etc! Maybe we migraine sufferers have similar brains. The last few weeks, I have been trying to take care of these tasks, one at a time. I must say for how frustrating it can be, I have felt good about getting these things accomplished!

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