To do / to-do list advice

  1. Does it really need to be done?
  2. What would happen if it wasn’t done?
  3. Can it be delegated?
  4. Can it be done now?
  5. Is it realistic?
  6. Does it really need to be noted down? Will it remind you of itself naturally? 
  7. Can it go in a lucky dip (a list of things you’d like to do - you’ll draw items from it at random, on the understanding that the vast majority will never get done)?

There’s always enough time in the end

Originally posted on Mastodon here

When I get in a flap about not having enough time to do all the things I have on my to do list, I calm myself down by reminding myself that it will all be fine in the end, and I will have enough time to do whatever I do.

Huh? How can this possibly be true? Surely sometimes you just have too much stuff on your plate and you really don’t have enough time to do it all?

Well, yes. Absolutely. Nearly always if you’re me.

But that’s the point.

I know it seems like I’m talking gobbledygook, but here’s what I’m saying:

At some point, you’ll find yourself at the other end of whatever time period it is that you’re fretting about. And when you get there, you’ll have done whatever you were capable of doing. No more, no less.

It doesn’t make a jot of difference how much you panic now, you’re not going to bend time.

And if you don’t do something you said you were going to do, chances are the world will still be turning and people will be coping.

And yes, of course I know that if you keep promising things you can’t deliver, people will get annoyed and stop trusting you to keep your word. YOU will stop trusting you.

But the point is that right now, panic and over-optimism will not bend time. Eventually you’ll be at that point in the future and you’ll have done whatever you could. You won’t have found a time machine and you won’t have developed super-powers.

It doesn’t matter how much you tell yourself “these things have to be done by then”. Unless you either reduce scope or find help, they won’t get done and that’s all there is to it. So chill out, stop denying it, and accept it.

And if you can’t keep those promises? Ideally, learn something and don’t make promises you can’t keep. But in the meantime, don’t slow yourself down even further by panicking. Adjust expectations.

Tell yourself, and tell other people, sooner rather than later, that you can’t bend time and you’re not superhuman.

Thus endeth the lesson.