Quick! Add it to the list!

Does running around like a headless chicken make you happy?

Doing a lot of things at once is not inherently bad, but I find that adding to my list of open tasks usually frustrates me and on my really bad days, overwhelms me with the feeling that I can never get anything done. And, does speed increase the number of things you get done? If you add more and more things to your To Do list, do you try to do each one faster? Or, if you’re like me, does it mostly increase the number of things you are doing at one time?

It reminds me of a pilot joke I heard years ago.

“Folks, this is the captain speaking. I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that we’re lost. The good news is that we’re making really good time.”

There are days when I am 100% certain I am the captain of Going-Nowhere-Fast Airlines.

As I’ve said before, I love ticking stuff off of my To Do lists.

I have learned to fight the urge to try to race through my open items. The list is the list and each action will take as long as it should in order to get the outcome I want. It took me a long time to realize that adding more things and trying to race around to finish them neither improves the outcome or gives me a sense of satisfaction of “job well done.”

Learning this has helped me a lot, especially at work. As I’ve said before, no one dies with her Inbox empty.  So what do I do? Each morning, I create a list of what I think I can reasonably get done that day. At the end of the day, I take stock: did I do what I had planned that day? Or did something else sidetrack me? Was I too ambitious? The funny thing is, I rarely run out of To Do items before I finish my workday. On my good days, there might be only one or two things left open. I leave the office vowing to be more realistic the following day because nothing’s better than a completely checked off To Do list.

And by the way, I make this vow every day. I am sucker for hope!

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