Is anyone else out there getting fed up with the whole idea of writing to-do-lists and lists of goals? The self-help industry constantly stresses the importance of writing down our goals. They warn us that if we don’t write down our goals we will never achieve them.
LONG LONG LISTS
Throughout my own life I have spent considerable time writing down long lists of goals and to do lists – sometimes with categories and sub-categories but that’s just me. I have many notebooks – far too many.
I am beginning to wish I could get back the time I spent writing down these goals. How many hours? Do they add up to days, weeks, or months? I have a feeling I might have achieved more if I had just got on with it. My to-do list is now a to-do-file.
THE TO DO FILE
Somewhere along the line we have become slaves to the to-do-list. What’s wrong with sitting still? Gut instinct can provide us with the best ideas and yet how do we find time to listen to our gut when we’re too busy writing to-do-lists?
Maybe the emphasis is on writing lists and goals because if we don’t, we can’t control the deluge of ‘stuff we have to do.’
I used to have building a website very high on my goal list for years, five to be exact. I thought about it a lot, yet never seemed to get round to it. Then last year I got fed up guiltily carrying this goal forward and so I deleted it. I felt relieved.
What happened then? Well, I went on holiday, rested, swam, walked, read books and did all the things you do on holiday and then came home. The same night I got back I saw an advert in a local paper for a website building course.
The date of application was the previous week. I’d missed it. Even so, I just knew I had to apply. I rang the next day and wasn’t too late after all. Now here I am building my own website, link-by-link, page-by-page. If you are interested in learning more about this I write about my experiences building my own website here.
As a writer I am becoming more and more aware that I need to unplug, switch off and just write. I have found that some of my favourite achievements – a short film, a prize-winning story – I wrote simply because I couldn’t sleep. A book I wrote to pass time on a boring daily bus journey was never on my to-do list. I just did it because I wanted to and it was published.
A VERY SHORT TO DO LIST
I may sound like a hypocrite here but I do actually still think we need to write a list but it should be short and ruthlessly edited. What I do now is just write a few things in my diary. Three is my average and if I tick them off, then great – if not I write in the things I actually did instead and tick those instead.
Life doesn’t always happen the way it happens in the lists. Our goals can and should change as we do. If there have been items on the list for over a month that you have not started, then maybe you should cross them out and move on.
You might find this gives you a lot more time. By the way if time is your problem here are some other ways to make more time to write.