When I printed my schedule ‘to-do list’ one day recently, it occurred to me this long honed habit of not missing out on anything, of not forgetting anything I needed to do, maintaining real-time awareness of everything I needed to be doing, and everything I ticked or crossed-off every day – was long overdue for an overhaul.
While one friend might argue this is not ‘the break’ they meant, it is not a break, but more of a breakthrough.
Not the invention of a newer, better hybrid.
Just trashing it all.
I’ve broken free.
Not entirely, but it feels like being freed from an imprisonment of sorts.
This will work until it doesn’t, and then I’ll change again.
I now have just one list.
And one pile.
I re-order/shuffle that ‘to do’ pile daily.
Things to do, files to look at, triage process, most precious and urgent on top, then working one thing at a time. List of priorities, the calendar for calls, and appointments. Database triggers remembering birthdays and milestones for friends, family, and clients.
Too soon to tell if this is my best-ever approach to life, work, and staying organized; for now, this feels like a prudent set of choices with measurable improvement.
I’m getting more accomplished in less time.
I love that feeling.
Making one change isn’t the only cause or reason, but it feels more right than wrong, more effective than many tweaks I’ve done along my path.
I have been a scheduler for a long time.
For more than 50 years, what began as ‘slips of paper in my pocket,’ my self-reminders of what to do, morphed over time into variation upon variation of calendaring systems.
I’ve tried so many paper variations, I used Day-Timers. I then graduated to electronic tools – of hardware, software, bound calendars, wall calendars, desk calendars, and a three-ring binder for upcoming events, conferences, and meetings. Plus daily lists – collectively reminding me to do things, appointments, etc. for what often have been the most mundane things, scheduled by time of day, days of week, etc.
I know I’ve gotten carried away with ‘too many reminders.’
Seriously, I don’t need a reminder to put my socks on every day.
But some of the inventory of things on my daily to-do became as ridiculous as that socks analogy.
The reason/excuse/rationalization, always one of not wanting to miss something important, so putting it on a paper list or in electronic calendaring became my routine…
I became a slave to my scheduling master, as if one side of my brain was shackled to the other in service of ‘the schedule.’
I’ll keep track of birthdays, appointments I’ve made – but the rest, deleted. I still have my contact database and lists of things; not to worry, I’ve not gone bonkers.
At first, I wondered if I could last, if I could make it through that day – and the next, if I could manage to free myself of the task-master, from myself, if I could lose my FOMO (fear of missing out). Most importantly, would I be more productive, feel better, and free up time?
The last was most comfortable to answer. I think, between checked, deleting, moving, and recording scheduled items – keeping track rather than procrastinating, I might save time. My guess is an hour a day.
That’s 1/24th of my life, when taken as a portion of my waking/productive hours, 1/12th of my life.
But is it true.
I’ll always have a list. I’ll keep my calendars and a diary.
Today is my grandson’s sixth birthday.
I know I wouldn’t have remembered if I didn’t have it recorded I would remember, but late.
Your personal rhythm demands more rigour than anyone else’s I am acquainted with. There’s comfort and confidence in rhythm but it can get exhausting, too. The breaks are needed, and welcome. Take them, as required. It’s raining in Tennessee. FM radio is only country music and gospel shows. Must. Push. Through., RH, Calgary, AB en-route to Bradenton, FL
If you have the capacity to recognize where you step out or why, you might be on your way out... Asking for help it seems great thing to do, good luck, AG, Cancun, Mex.