27 February 2013

And About That To-Do List...

I hate to-do lists. I can live with the fact I've acquired something of a little mean streak, because those spiteful little to-do lists hate me right back. Balance. Life is all about balance.

Perhaps our hostilities began because I've never had any success at completely crossing everything off on any to-do list I've ever written. That's right. Not once. And that's if I can even find the sly little rat-like things that the work of my hand turns into once it's discovered it's been born a to-do list. True, I wouldn't want to be born a to-do list. I shudder at the very thought, but somebody's got to be it and somebody's got to do it. Guess it's clear which of the options is fated to be mine. We all have our lots in life. Have a cupcake and carry on.

I've learned there are actually some very good reasons for this strong, emotional response to those little paper banes of my existence. Thus, at this point in my life, I am more than okay with avoiding those little bundles of joy that are to-do lists, as scrupulously as possible.

Not long ago, the light bulb went on and I realized that my to-do lists were something I dreaded. I couldn't look forward to starting a day knowing that pestilential piece of paper would still be there. Lying in wait. For me. I know when I first look at the to-do list in the fine light of morning, it will have multiplied tasks. Then that long meg list feels like having a conquering hero looking over your shoulder, who then exhibits an extremely bad case of poor sportsmanship just for the sheer pleasure of inflicting the maximum amount of misery as possible on the conquered of the day. That would be me.


But then... I finally noticed that the world had not stopped spinning solidly on it's axis, completely oblivious to my plight. It also occurred to me that hell... nobody had voted me off the island... yet. It's heartening to know my family still loves me. And all these things don't change whether I do or do not follow a to-do list. Why didn't anyone ever tell me this? (So many wasted hours I could have been playing video games just like my kids) 

So what was I agonizing over? I can now give my absolute best effort each day to complete as many tasks as is reasonably possible and then move on without feeling guilty that, inevitably, I will forget things that have uncomfortable consequences. Life is full of little trade offs. It could take me longer to achieve the successful conclusion of a task than it might have if I were only a little more organized. Okay. Like I would be with a to-do list... but then I figure I wouldn't be able to take the time to smell the butterflies and watch the flowers instead of writing and rewriting tasks. Huh. Rewind to smell and exchange with the the word watch. 'Kay? 

I now have time to enjoy some of the little things in life. I can be comfortably assured that the rest of the tasks won't be running off with the spoons and so will get addressed. Eventually. 

Not that I won't still experience some of that agonizing to-do list nagging. I do.  To-do lists can't be silenced easily. Unfortunately. At least not silenced without an expensive set of Bose stereo headphones. Sigh. It's a continuing learning experience to know what constitutes an emergency dire enough to warrant you stepping away from the Bose and what is important enough to only turn down the sound for a minute... Okay, maybe a solid 120 seconds... I am, after all, equipped with a replay button. Or at least my stereo is.

Remember that list of really good reasons about to-do lists to make one feel homicidal that I mentioned above... well, maybe I didn't go into that much detail, but I thought I'd share, in true The Tonight Show fashion, my decisively executed battle of wits with the dreaded to-do list. It, of course, came to the battle unarmed. 

The Top Ten Reasons why I don't want to ever write another to-do list:

Number 10. I generally forget that I have even written a to-do list so right off the bat, I've set myself up for failure
Ah, yes. The old, 'I forgot my homework at home ploy.' Feel sorry for yourself much?
Who are you?
Who am I? Hmmm. Well, I guess you could say I'm playing the Devil's advocate, but don't worry, an exorcism will not be necessary as I'm only filling in to play the role for your benefit, then it's off to Tahiti for me... I just love those warm climates!
For my benefit... Really?
Really.
Yeah. Right. So, moving right along...

Number 9. I tend to forget where I have actually set down that to-do list when it's time to get cracking at it. I have spent hours looking for lists in the past.
They do say that memory is the first thing to go and the second thing to go is your memory. You've already used the losing ploy. What else ya got?
Number 8. There is no happily ever after with a to-do list. It never ends. Doing one thing just reminds me of several other things that I didn't do. It's... it's... it's demoralizing. A valid reason for not making to-do lists. I'm protecting my sanity and sense of self worth.
Hey! Isn't it kind of like that movie The NeverEnding Story, but without the rescue at the end. Or Dr. Who, but without the Tardis. Guess it sucks to be you if you are in possession of a to-do list.
Number 7. I can't help writing my to-do-lists on stray envelopes containing advertisements for items I definitely do not want, nor have ever heard of before. I don't know how they found me, but I sure would like them to get lost. And I really don't want to know what a Stretch Lock Bungee Cord is, or what it's used for. In my imagination, it could be a tool of torture (kind of like the to-do list) involving breaking someone's back. After two surgeries in about two years on my back, I'd rather be blissfully ignorant, thank you very much!
You realize that those envelopes are offended when they hear you say things like that. That's why they retaliate by sharing your address with all their paper buddies and their buddies' buddies. (classic Theorem of Hydra) Hence the reason why your mailman has herniated discs and why you keep getting even more junk mail... what you need is a junk mail dog. Junk yard dogs seem to be very efficient at discouraging any kind of communication. A well trained junk mail dog would deter even the most tenacious offender. (just sayin')
Number 6. A to-do list implies that one actually intends to and has time for accomplishing everything on that list. It makes one feel obligated to complete all the tasks before quitting. Intend to and make time for accomplishing everything on my to-do list? Lying is a sin. It's the moral principle of the thing. If I do not write down a to-do list, then my moral principles can't be compromised.
Hmmmm. Yeah, you're definitely worthy of being a roll model of parental rectitude. I'm impressed. I think you're wrong, but I'm still impressed with um... the ingeniousness of your logical reasoning powers.
Number 5. Since I regrettably was born with the curse of being more than a little loquacious. Both in written and verbal forms of communication. I can't help it. I tend to write a lot of notes on the run using my own sort of shorthand. Unfortunately, there have been times when I was not able to decipher my own notes. Abbreviations, symbols, squiggly lines all carry the burden of becoming my best kept secrets since even I do not know what I had meant. I still avoid voice recorders because there are some things in life you do not want nor need any recording of.
A little loquacious, huh? You know, you could have a good chance of running for the Queen of Understatement. You can ask anyone in your family and they'll tell you that occasionally they like to play hide and seek... without you. No offense is meant and I'm sure none is taken as no person is without the need of a little quiet time... or perhaps nap time as the case may be.
Number 4. A to-do list means you have to responsibly prioritize what gets done first and last. In my mind, this means that I can't put, say... finish current quilt before clean the overly full cat litter boxes. Let's face it. Cleaning cat litter boxes is not exactly a lallapalooza event, whereas finishing a quilt is definitely a labor of love and, at least in my mind, worthy of a lallapalooza event. I just don't want to feel guilty the whole time I'm sewing. That would take a lot of the enjoyment out of it. I'd rather feel warm and fuzzy (without the angora, of course) about piecing fabric together that is meant for someone else. Something they'll really use. Cat litters boxes get used, but they can't touch my soul and litter boxes just smell and need constant cleaning.
Lallapalooza? Lallapalooza. You've been reading the dictionary in the bathroom again? If you're in need of a book, put Sherlock Holmes or possibly, War and Peace in the bathroom library for just such an emergency. Lallapalooza. Thank you. Now that word is going to be stuck in my mind all day.
Number 3. When it comes time to start working on the items I listed on my to-do list, I feel like the list takes me hostage and I'm to be held until everything on that to-do list is crossed off. I'm a slave of the to-do list. I suppose I should feel blessed because at least the to-do list didn't change my name to Kunta Kinte. Kunta Kinte did not whine about his lot. And he was not lazy. I like to whine and I'll admit I'm lazy on occasion. It's sad, really, but true. The naming would also be wrong, because Kunta was male and... well... I'm not. (I wonder if he ever had to write to-do lists?) On top of that? When I get up in the morning, my list mysteriously has additional tasks to do on it that I could swear I'd not written with my own hand even though the penmanship sure looked the same.
Lazy on occasion? Pinocchio, thy nose is getting long. What happened to that roll model of parental rectitude? As for the appearance of additional tasks, that truly could be a troubling problem. I think you might want to separate your to-do lists, because apparently... those lists are all shacked up together and it looks like they are taking advantage of all of their opportunities by being fruitful as bunny rabbits. Just thought I'd throw that advice in there for you. Free of charge, of course.
Number 2. To-do lists gives me gas. Too much information, I know, but it sorta feels like that. They also depress me and since I've made a promise to myself that I would make lemonade from things like this in my daily life, I've made sure my lemonade recipe for these particular lemons includes a determination to avoid any possibility of a to-do list falling into my possession.

And finally, Number 1. When writing a to-do list, I put every step on there. By time I'm finished writing the to-do list, it's time for bed. Then I start again in the morning. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I write things like this only much more detailed. (I'm being compassionate for those who have made it this far):

Check the laundry room for toilet paper
Check toilet paper dispenser for empty roll
Scrub the toilet (don't forget to wash the wall beside the toilet that has the dirty fingerprints)
Scrub the tub
Scrub the sink
Wipe the mirror
Sweep the floor
Yawn.... Snore....
Then make a grocery list-
And try to use it this time?
-pick up daughter from school.
Which one? You do remember you have five of them, right?
-remember to take out the dog.
But you don't have a dog.
Then substitute the words 'Devil's Advocate'! If you can't stop interrupting me with sarcastic comments, I'm going to find a paper shredder for this Top Ten List and I will never entertain even the wispiest of thoughts pertaining to writing about the damn to-do lists! Then I'll never have to ever endure you again! It's time for you to leave... that's your cue to exit stage left...
I feel compelled to point out you're typing this entry on a computer and the digital file is on an SD disc. I don't think I have to worry too much as you take forever to finish a sentence, and you also don't move too-
**Grinding sounds of shredding plastic**

QOTD: "My to-do list is so long that it doesn't have an end... it has an event horizon." ~ Craig Bruce

8 comments:

  1. My to-do list has spiralled down to: don't write any more to-do lists.

    Ta-da! List completely done!

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  2. Love.It! Have an awesome trip too!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Why is it when you write a post that made you invest long hours putting it together, that once it's posted, you wish you had your own personal editor? Rereading this post in the full light of day showed an amazing amount of gross mistakes. So now I have re-edited it and invested another hour on it. Like my to-do list? Put a fork in me, I'm done.

    ReplyDelete
  4. To do lists:
    Many years ago in our first house:
    The Bearded One (on a Saturday afternoon):
    "I need to oil the door hinges."
    Me: "Why? Do they squeak?"
    BO: "They will if I don't oil them."
    Me: "When? When will they squeak?"
    BO: "I don't know."
    Me: Wouldn't you rather go sailing?

    And thus was prioritized his "to do list"

    ReplyDelete
  5. Had to laugh at your post b/c it's perfect for today.

    Yesterday we had that lovely snow/rain mess that's been going around lately. One kid went to school, one kid got to stay home... different counties.

    So, I thought... why don't I amalgamate all those little pieces of paper.

    One page in my little book had "things I'd like to buy" on it. One page had "to do".

    I have all the little pieces of paper but do you have any idea where the little book is?? Seriously, I have checked under everything, in every piece of furniture and it's gone.

    Not that it's new or exciting since I either don't take the lists with me or lose them but...

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  6. Christie - I can't disagree with sailing. In this family, that would go without saying in this house. Glad you could convince him. :)

    FW2- doesn't that always figure? Has to laugh too!

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  7. You have to do a lot in one day, why does everything on your list have to be a chore related item?
    TO - DO List
    1. Enjoy first cup of coffee/tea.
    2. Throw a load of clothes in dryer.
    3. shower, have to make sure new body wash is to your liking, or it will just stay on the shelf.
    4. inspect closet for the perfect shirt to wear today.
    5. Kitties need attention, an hour of reminding them they are loved would be good.

    And so on........... a to do list is just that, things that have to be done.
    I love you baby sister! See, now I can take that one of todays list. :-)

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  8. -"Kitties need attention, an hour of reminding them they are loved would be good."

    My cat's are NOT like your dogs.

    Still, I think the biggest reason I can't stand them is the amount of time it takes to make one versus just getting things done and leave emergency stuff for sticky notes.

    And I love you, too. Now if I had a to-do list, I could've crossed that off, too. But I'd have to find the to-do list and then I'd just have lather, rinse, repeat. :)

    ReplyDelete

Contents from normal neural synapsis goes here....
Should unnatural neural synapsis occur? Take one cherry chocolate Hershey Kiss and carry on.
Should NO neural synapsis occur? Take two full strength chocolate Hershey Kisses and
try again in the morning.