My life story is basically one extended to-do list.
Write more to-do lists, check.
But what am I really left with at the end of the day?
I’ll tell you what–a pile of wasted paper and crushed dreams of what I could have accomplished. I am so over to-do lists, and if these reasons sound familiar, maybe you should be too.
1. I have trouble distinguishing wants from needs. You may want a new pair of casual summer shoes–I need them. The same goes for the curtain shopping, screenplay writing, and countless other extra activities that find their way onto my many to-do lists. I get so overwhelmed that I need to take an hour or three to relax before I get started. That brings me gracefully to number 2.
2. I have a simple mind, and I get overwhelmed easily. Even if I culled my lists down to only the essential activities I’d be intimidated by the mere question of what I should do first. More list writing and inevitable bouts of ordering and numbering would ensue. By the time that was finished I’d need to take a break and then it would be lunch time. With this day ruined I’d have to wait until tomorrow to try again.
3. There’s always something else to do. Sometimes I have a good day. Somehow one item after another seems to earn a neat line, right through the guts. Then it happens. It always happens. Another little agitator of a task seems to appear right below it, inciting me to violence. Blast! To-do lists make me a perpetual loser. There’s no winning. And I’m a sore loser.
4. I’m tired of organizing all of my to-do lists, and I can’t afford the paper. You know it’s bad when your to-do lists actually make it as an item on your to-do lists. On top of that I’m a bit obsessive when it comes to organization and I’m just not into handling my lists digitally–it ruins my creative process. With at least one new list a day complete with notes and doodles, I’ve generated quite the mess.
5. Some people do, some people write about doing. Ever get that feeling of accomplishment after creating your to-do list? It’s dangerous. Sometimes I feel so great after making mine that I take the day off because future Amanda now has a guide to take care of everything. Usually about a week or so later I find the list and wonder if it’s important, but by then I already have a new one I’m working on.
So, there you have it–I’ve dumped my to-do lists. It’s over. I’m a free woman, and a doer (at least for today).
How do you stay productive?
Amanda Cripps is a writer and marketing professional taking one day at a time in the NH Seacoast. You can follow her on Twitter @amandacripps