Are You a Compulsive List Maker?
My sweetie gave me a coaching lesson last night (for free!) and I’ve been pondering her advice ever since.
I was bemoaning working hard all day–in my office for about nine hours–yet I had a sense of non-accomplishment. Those kind of days make me a little crazy! Do they you?
She asked me to shift my thinking about why I’m doing the work I do. I’ve been self-employed for several months and am developing a client list of good people and organizations in a field that I love.
She reminded me that I no longer work from a “check the box” perspective that plagues those of us who have outlived our usefulness in a job. Instead, my sweetie suggested that I focus on filling my days with the enjoyment of working and that I focus less on scratching tasks off my to-do list.
Are you a compulsive list maker?
Holy cow, I am! It’s in my genes, I think. My brother and I used to tease our mother for making lists of her lists!
I have vivid memories of Mom sitting at the Formica kitchen table with pieces of scrap paper copying the non-scratched off items from one to another. Except, to be clear, Mom didn’t scratch through a completed task, she made a string of squiggly, curvy lines through it.
Her daily to-do list rested next to the ongoing grocery list on top of the monthly calendar (no-line blocks for each day) in the kitchen drawer. For a good many years before she retired, I think Mom based the success of her day on the number of squiggly lines on the scrap paper.
I think I’ve become my mother.
Compulsive list-making spoils Now moments.
Mom and all her lists (The annual family summer vacation list began weeks in advance!) were a part of an era that didn’t place a high value on living in the moment. That concept was decades in the future. Had I asked her back then if she thought all her planning took her away from being present, I might have been smacked for being smart-mouthed.
Fortunately, you and I are part of the Now era. And I am aware that each time I am hyper-focused on my task list, I’ve stepped into the future. Plus, I’ve lost a snippet of Now.
Now moments are precious and I don’t want to lose anymore than I have to. Surely there’s a way to create a reminder list that isn’t inherently obsessive?
I’m open to ideas, my peeps. I don’t know if I can work completely unstructured, meaning without a list, because there are things I must remember.
But putting an item on my list just so it can be scratched off is a tiny bit obsessive, don’t you think? Oh, I know I’m not the only one!
Seriously, tell me your ideas. But please don’t remind me that I have control issues. I have that particular awareness, thank you very much!
Let’s make a list of how to use lists! Now you’re talking!
Photo courtesy of hotblack