The paradox of to-do lists and moving forward

Have you ever carried on the weight of guilt and the feeling of failure because it’s the end of the day, or the week, and you have not achieved the specific things you set out to achieve, although you have done many other important things outside your to-do? That’s been me for a number of days now, and I have experienced that many times in the past. It can be mentally draining, especially when you are a melancholic like me who also then has some touch of choleric. The ‘self-harshness’, if there is a word like that, is deep.

The first and primary way I deal with that is to measure and embrace the importance of those things I eventually got done, and remind myself that the bigger picture of progress matters more than the micro direction I had established. And to be honest, many brilliant ideas and steps have come out of those off-to-do groups. But while this is true, it is important to still get the specific plan done especially when you are a part of a team or when those smaller milestones greatly and directly influence bigger timelines with high consequences.

I am thinking through the answer to that as I type this. A possible route is to first free the mind of all the guilt and focus on the positive side of the progress achieved nonetheless, and then use the power of the resulting clear mind to re-analyze and replan the un-done and pending. Doing that may then lead to new timelines (where they can shift) and more importantly determine what one would do differently to get the things done this time. These approaches could include delegation, seeking someone else’s support or the one that has worked well for me, locking myself up to it with the presence of someone else, say on a live call, at a specific time I had committed to working on it, while my screen is presented live. That sounds so… what? Tell me.

Image by Jay Lamm from Unsplash. Just because it looks good. No depth to the choice.

The *truth is while we cannot, and should not deny the beauty of our mind being pulled to a direction our spirit or mood leads us to, as right there lies some of the most beautiful ideas, we need to find ways to forcefully get done the specific things we also need to do, even when they seem like the most boring chore ever. We may not be able to change how they feel to us at those times we need to get them done but we can hack ourselves to do so nonetheless or get someone else to get them started. And talking about getting them started, that’s usually the biggest hurdle. Once you are in, you are in. But first, free the guilt, and know you are not alone, and that behaviour can birth some beauty of its own. You just need to calmly find hacks to the other.

*I am not Jesus, neither am I Einstein, and soI really don’t know what the truth is



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Victor A. Fatanmi

‘Finding my writing’, under the blanket of the known image of a Designer and Agency Founder.