My to-do list tells my life’s story. It contains everything. From New Year’s resolutions (running the marathon) to daily errands (bread, newspaper, carrots) and from vague ideas (setting up an online gallery) to actual work related to-do’s (finishing off memo X).
Every day I start a fresh to-do page. I copy all the items from the day before, that weren’t ticked off. Sometimes I even place finished items on my to-do lists. Just to allow myself the pleasure of ticking off some items, before the start of the day.
I start by copying the ‘big’ things. The things that aren’t easy to do. I’ve read in a psychology magazine, that you always have to start with the things that you procrastinate. These are the big things. The things that make you sigh. The things that tire you, just by looking at the words.
This means that for the last 150 to-do pages, ‘Running a marathon’, ‘Writing a book’ and ‘Getting my driver’s license’ are on top of my list. This has been the case for more than five years already.
I see these items every day. And every day I start with fresh courage. Ok. Today. After work. I will start training for the marathon. And today. After lunch. I will pick up the phone and arrange my driving lessons.
Alas. After an hour, I’m so caught up in work and business as usual that these items lose priority. There is always something more important that has to be done. Every 30 minutes or so I check my to do list and see these items standing there. Firm. Indestructible. And during the day, these items start to tire me. They follow me in everything I do. They are stuck in my head. And at the end of the day. Just before I go to bed, when I have ticked of most of my to-do’s, these items laugh at me. They haunt me at night. And in the morning they are still there. Ready to be copied on a fresh to-do page.
And today, I tell myself again. Today I will start writing the first chapter of my book.
But this day is different.
This day I am fed up with feeling like a loser for having the same to-do items on my list for the past five years. This day I will change things around.
So in stead of my pencil, I use a black marker and place a big cross through ‘Running a marathon’ (who needs a marathon, running around the block for 20 minutes is just fine), through ‘Writing a book’ (let’s face it. If I was truly a writer, I would have already written a book, now wouldn’t I.) and through ‘Getting my driver’s licence’ (the public transportation in Amsterdam is incredibly organized. Who needs a car?).
This feels like a huge relieve.
The next item I place on my to-do list ‘Prioritising my life’ is ticked off before my day has started. V.
Phewww. Life can be so easy.