Today, between my two major to do lists (personal and SkillSet), I had 16 items categorized. At the end of the day, I had checked off a total of one item. I had an incredibly productive day. No, really...no sarcasm intended.
How is this possible, you ask? Isn't this a bit of organizing sacrilege, to not at least process the rest of the items with the almighty "4 D's"? How can I sleep knowing that there are 15 more items NOT checked off?
Well, to begin with, my one checked item was a BIG one, requiring a fair amount of time and effort. It was also something that, while not time sensitive, was something I didn't want to put off. So I got a big boost of satisfaction from completing it.
Second, I had a particularly effective client organizing session. The session wasn't on my list (things that are calendared don't need to be because, well, they are on the calendar). We made a great deal of progress, and I sensed some real relief that surroundings were under control as I made my way to leave. The satisfaction of knowing a client feels supported and helped in their goals makes me feel that I'm doing what I am meant to do. Ah, hear that? To do?
Finally, I've been well-booked this month (my alternate term for "so busy", which always sounds suspiciously like a complaint to me), and I know tomorrow is another day. Whatever didn't get checked off will still be there. I'll take a look in the morning at what seems to be the most pressing, and make the best decisions I know how to make at the time. You see, I think a lot of folks get really hung up in process vs. content. "I must check off everything!" "I must set goals and deadlines!" "I must get to Inbox Zero!" There's nothing wrong with any of those philosophies, unless they get in the way of actually accomplishing things. Sometimes I check everything off, many times I don't. So why even make the list in the first place? For me, it's to limit the choices I face in any given day to the things that help me move forward. That being said, I think the act of making a list should be secondary to what and how you choose to complete from it.
Of course, if you sit around all day binge-watching Sherlock instead of doing anything (assuming it's not vacation or your day off), then that presents a problem. But common sense should prevail, right? Sure, making the most of your 24 hours is always good, but being a slave to The List isn't always the best course. Sometimes you just need to complete the tasks you choose really well, and be grateful that you had the time and ability to do them.
Sara Skillen - Certified Professional Organizer®, Certified Organizer Coach®, wife, mom, dog-lover, author. Learning to trust my intuition more every day. Shall we work together?