I have recently had a huge revelation into why I always feel pressure to get things done and why the list never ends.
I went through school treating it like a video game with tasks to complete. Memorize 20 vocabulary words? Check. Read two chapters in your science book? Check. Write a three page paper in English class? Check. Do 50 math problems at the end of the chapter? Check. I was always racing to the next task. Check, check, check.
When school ended, I transferred that bizarre need for tasks from schoolwork into life. Vacuum the living room? Check. Do the dishes? Check. I am the to-do list queen. I have lists of my to-do lists. But there’s a big difference in my to-do lists now vs. the lists when I was a teenager.
In school, you only have as much work as the teacher gives. You will only see the teacher at certain times. This means there are specific, predictable opportunities for your work load to change or grow. At all other times there is the peace of knowing that once done, you are truly done.
Life is never truly done. Continue reading
Most people use lists at least once in awhile, but they tend to use them for day-to-day goals.
For example, I may go to the store with a list that says:
When I successfully find, purchase, and bring home those things I have completed my list.
When I go to work at the office, I keep a running list for the week and a more particular list for each day. On Wednesdays I run a certain audit and call every customer on it. On Fridays I try to make sure that all customer documents generated over the past week that need mailing are, in fact, in the mail. These are very specific goals I can easily anticipate that take a finite amount of time.
If my housecleaning list says I need to dust and vacuum our main living areas, do up all of the dishes, and clean the bathroom… I know about how long those things take. I can plan the rest of my day around them. I can achieve the items on my list with a pretty high degree of certainty.
The whole point of keeping a to-do list is to maintain focus and therefore achieve goals. But what about the goals not so quickly or surely achieved? Continue reading