Sunday, November 18, 2007

Do, Don't, Did

I was going to write about lists today anyway. Then I came across this recent blog of note which has a lot more to say on the subject. As a habitual list maker, I found it quite interesting.
Anyway, I love making my lists, but for various reasons I've become distressed because it's more & more difficult to complete the things on my lists. The more discouraged I get the less likely I am to follow my lists, which creates a horrible cycle.
Somewhere I read about reversing the concept and writing an "I did" list. At the end of the day whatever you accomplished gets to go on this list. If you find yourself at the end of the day marveling at how busy you were while your intended goals remain untouched, this kind of list is for you. It was quite revealing and validating to learn what I was so busy with. Sometimes I get sidetracked with time wasters, but sometimes I get sidetracked with things that are unplanned yet still important to me.
Just last week someone told me about the "not to do list." This is a list of perfectly good things one could easily commit to, but that would divert too much time, energy, and attention from the main things on your real to-do list. In theory, this list could go on forever, but the idea is to think about the kinds of things that tend to spread your resources too thin. Having a hobby is a perfectly good thing, but I need to devote my time to my existing hobbies so I don't go buying new materials that will just sit in the corner collecting dust. So no new hobbies for me for now. Volunteering is a priority for me, but I know if I sign up for another committee, I will have too many meetings to allow me to fully serve any of them adequately. So my "not to do" list includes not signing up for any other long term projects or committees.
I've got to go make my list for the week.

No comments: