Much ado about to-do lists
I hate to-do lists.The other day a friend suggested I take the to-do list route to help me better manage my time. I’ll just say I was less-than-interested.I’d rather watch a State of the Union Address.Or drive through Kansas with only an AM radio.The idea of creating a daily to-do list made me anxious just thinking about it. Hence, my problem. With all those things to do on the list, I feel like I’ll never get it all done. And when I don’t get everything done, I feel like a failure.It’s a vicious circle, really.Much like making a life plan – you know, graduate college, get married, buy a house, have babies, etc. – and discovering 10 years later that life really isn’t all that easily planned.There’s a financial planner, and a wedding planner, out there cursing my name right now.The worst part about being a to-do-list hater is that I’m a procrastinator.I’m an editor’s worst nightmare.And a CliffsNotes publisher’s dream.My procrastination doesn’t exactly qualify me as having a psychological disorder, but I do consider it a major character flaw. It’s not like I’m running around giving people wet willies all the time. But I have angered people for my procrastinating ways (I won’t even get into my habit of being late).Now well into my adulthood, I’m not sure if I can change my procrastinating ways. According to psychologist Neil Fiore, who is also an inspirational speaker, I can do it – no matter how old I am.Instead of saying, “I see life and work as a grind,” I should say, “Life and work can be fun.”Life with no work seems way more fun, Neil. Of course, the ol’ trust fund isn’t quite in my future.I shouldn’t think as a procrastinator, who says stuff like, “I must …, or have to …, or something awful will happen.” Neil says the productive way is to believe I’m doing things because I’d like to or choose to.I’d like to think I can make deadline because I really love to write, not because of some looming fear I’ll be attacked by a mountain lion if I don’t.Talk about motivation.I’m also supposed to avoid the tendency to live entirely in the future. This, my friends, is a hard one.I mostly live under the assumption I will one day hit the lottery – although I rarely buy tickets – and become a millionaire. Or, one day I’ll meet the most fascinating person in the world who will commission me to write her or his life story. Within a year or two I’ll have a best-seller on my hands. A movie deal will follow and I’ll never have to work again, unless I become entirely too bored going to parties and traveling the world. By that time, I’ll have met an even more fascinating person than before, which will make my job even easier. I imagine such lofty goals would require at least some sort of to-do list.Well, well, well. Maybe I just secretly wrote one.April E. Clark was the queen of pulling the all-nighter at Purdue University, especially with her art and design projects. She can be reached at 945-8515, ext. 518, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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