The To-Do List As a Loose Concept

I love lists. I have recently discovered Evernote, which is a virtual notebook and a great thing for the obsessive list maker, as it syncs on my phone and both work and home computers. I often use it to take notes in meetings, but mostly I use it to make lists: to-do lists, lists of books I want to read, films and T.V. series I want to see, new music to listen to, potential places to travel to, and blog ideas. The only paper list I have left is the grocery one, which I still keep in a kitchen drawer for when the ketchup runs out. Some things will never change, no matter how technology moves on.

I used to think of my list mania as a sign of my neurosis, my perfectionism and need for control. It probably is. But I'm making inroads to change. I'm experimenting these days with the idea of saying no more often, and I think this has provided a shift in my attitude to lists.

You see, I'm usually a yes person, hemmed in by the philosophy that winners always want the ball. And missing out is not an option. But then we all have moments in our lives where there's clarity that it's time to start supporting ourselves in a way that means saying no and declining things. Sitting on the side lines and regrouping, because in the end it's actually better for the team.

These days, my lists are more of a guide. And what I find the most interesting are the pauses in my days and weeks to assess if what is on the list actually needs to be there. It's what I choose not to cross off that's teaching me at the moment. When it comes to making lists, the sky can be the limit. After all, there's no harm in writing down a book I might want to read, even if in the end I never do. But it's in the execution that I now waiver.

Because blindly following any direction -- even if it's your own -- isn't the smartest way to work or live.

I've been working on a list (of course) of the edicts that I find are the most helpful at both work and home. One of them is "edit, edit, edit". I think it's important to say it three times, because one edit is never enough – even to-do lists can use the red pen approach.

I used to feel bogged down by my lists, as if life was just a race to get everything done. But they are taunting me less these days. The fact that there are so many things I want to do, read and learn is an exciting prospect. But they are no longer an obligation. It's a slight shift in attitude to a scribbling on a metaphorical piece of paper, but a big shift towards life as something to enjoy, instead of to get done.  

1 comment

  1. Greetings Taron! I'm Heather and I was just wondering if you could answer my question about your blog! Please email me at Lifesabanquet1(at)gmail(dot)com :-)


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