Things I Don’t Want… To-Do List

March 4, 2010

Things I Don't Want... To-Do List

Things I Don't Want... To-Do List

Greetings, fellow trudgers on “the road of happy destiny”…

A friend of mine recently emailed about me…

“Below is a list of things I would like to have completed in the next few days which I have proved to myself that, left on my own, I cannot (or will not) do them.

I need help. Will you help me?”

Being far more clear-headed—and willing to share opinions—about anyone’s task management issues other than my own, I wrote back “Sure!”

And so, I got right to work on a “To Do” list pad — a list of things I don’t wanna do.

In my case, unless my “To-Do” list reads “eat entire chocolate cake,” “sit in sun & bake self silly,” “pick out new sports car,” or “catch up previous seasons of Battlestar Galactica,” chances are pretty good that for a number of the items on my list, my plan is simple:

I JUST DON’T FEEL LIKE IT.

Growth and change can be difficult, sometimes painful. I heard a person at a twelve-step meeting say “This program is really difficult.” I thought to myself, “Abso-lutely right—but if you think this program is difficult, try no program.”

They don’t call it work because it’s easy. Who wants to forge into strange and painful territory and poke around in those hurt emotional spots, searching for truth? Who wants to give other people permission to be honest with us—sometimes painfully honest—about our character defects? Who wants to live in a state of discomfort, be challenged, and encouraged to strive constantly forward into fact-facing and fear-facing that can be scary—even heartbreaking at times? Who would want to do that?!?*

*Answer: Anybody who has ever lived in or around addiction or alcoholism—that’s who.

Does it matter if “I don’t feel like it?” Actually, no—not much. I can take note of it, like, “Oh, look—I don’t much feel like doing that. Isn’t that interesting? I’m going to do it anyway.” Perhaps, like my friend, I have to admit I can’t do it—at least not alone. Perhaps I have to face something worse than procrastination: isolation.

So, just for today, I’m can..

1. Make a “To Do” list of things (research suggests 3 to 5 maximum**) I may not feel like doing today, but want to have done.

2. Start each item with “I don’t feel like ______” and fill in the blank.

2.5. Say something like “On my own, this isn’t going to get done.”

3. Ask myself where I can find the help to get it done.

4. Go to the source, ask for the help.

4.5. Receive the help (hint: for some, this is the hardest part of all!)

5. Then, do the thing—whether I feel like it or not.

6. When its done, be grateful and celebrate!

Very important last step there! Once it’s done, I can make a very big deal out of how wonderful that is. You know, tear off my coat. Go running down Main Street like the village idiot. Scream out “I balanced my checkbook!!” or “I wrote the stinkin’ report!!” or “Even though it scared the crap out of me, I told the truth!!!” or “I told my sister to mind her own business!” or whatever. I know that people will be leaning out of their windows, showering me with flowers, chanting “Go! Go! Go! Go!” Grandparents at red lights will lean down and whisper to their grandchildren, “There goes the guy who did the right thing TODAY.” YAAY!!!

Happy trails!

** PS Productivity research indicates that the average person’s “To-Do” list contains 12 to 15 items. The same research indicates that most people accomplish on average about three (3) of those items per day.

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