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YOUR VOICE: The tiresome art of the to-do list

I like to be organised. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. See, I’m so ready I’ve even got a cliché for you.

Since I’m married with children and I’m in full time employment it’s my job to be set for all eventualities and all those little unexpected ones.

And I pride myself on it with the aid of my buddy the to do list.

It’s such a simple pleasure. On a post-it note I’ll jot down things I’ve got to do and when they’re done I strike them off in big, bold, biro ink. This is satisfying on two levels.

One, it’s very therapeutic putting a line through a task you were to do which could be as easy as buying milk or remembering to put the washing on.

And seeing a list full of objects crossed out is as sexy and as breathtaking as the Mona Lisa flashing a dirty grin.

But there’s a problem. My to do lists are growing and multiplying.

There’s one on my phone in a memo app. I’ve actually got another one in the form of a draft email that I’ll update when I can.

Because I can’t use my mobile at work I’ve got a hand written collection of small yellow squares in my wallet in amongst receipts and cards. And if they’re lucky they can eventually meet up with their cousins who have a nice and warm home in a fancy organiser I’ve not nearly used as much as I wanted to.

There’s more. I’ve got different long term and short term aims as well. How to I separate them apart from writing them on different bits of paper? That’s a good question.

Initially anything I wanted to achieve in less than three months was on the short term list. Or, as I shortened it to ‘The ST’ list. But I never carried over anything I wasn’t able to do in the designated timescale to the Long Term list (which I haven’t shortened yet as I have no time to do this.)

But it’s now getting out of hand and getting to me. I could ask for guidance from my wife and she’d gladly assist me in anyway she can but it’s not as pleasing when someone else does it for you.

And with my many lists on many different platforms, I’m putting things off and making it worse. I’m scared to complete one thing dreading that it will lead to another two to be done.

Take today for instance. In fact, take tonight. I did want to check things earlier but I kept pushing it back. Then I sat down to do a money sort and go through my list for tomorrow and it took me seconds when I’d delayed it for hours.

I need to get my mojo back.

So what am I going to do? Condense all my tasks onto post-it notes as there’s something traditionally romantic about this method and I don’t think we can rely on technology too much.

I’ll review them at regularly daily intervals and ask for help if needed.

And instead of panicking about not actually looking at the lists and stressing about what I’ve got to do I’m going to take pride and a sense of achievement in completing these.

What’s the first thing I’ve struck off my lists since I’ve taken on this new approach I hear you ask.

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