When you start working on a to do list it has a natural tendency to get larger and larger.
It even happened to God. On Day 1 His to do list was:
- Create light
By Day 6 His list was :
- Create cattle
- Create creeping things
- Create beasts of the earth
- Create man
- Create woman
- Bless the above
- Issue instructions about food
- Review progress so far
- Plan day off tomorrow
So the phenomenon of the expanding to do list is nothing new. It has been with us right from the beginning.
I became very aware of this when yesterday I transferred my existing to do lists into the final version of my new time management system. It was “to do lists” in the plural because over the last few months of frantic testing I had accumulated a whole raft of them - with many duplicate items. So my first task in implementing the final version was to consolidate everything and remove the duplicates. Apart from the duplicates I did no editing at all because I wanted to give the new system plenty of work to do. It is designed to have anything and everything thrown at it - so I gave it anything and everything that I had.
I ended up with just under a hundred tasks, which is not too bad. The worrying thing though was that no less than forty of them were supposed to be done at least once a day. Although some of these were the sort of task that only takes a few seconds to do (“Check diary”, “Share price index”), others were altogether more substantial (“Go for long walk”, “French Vocabulary”). So this list badly needs weeding.
One of the selling points of the new system is “Tasks are sifted and filtered by working the system itself”. A list of forty daily tasks will challenge that to the full. I am hoping (and expecting) that the system will narrow my focus without losing the things which are really important to me. Actually I expect it to do more than that - I expect it to tell me what things are really important to me. At the moment I feel like someone clearing out an attic (“Oh, I can’t possibly throw that away - that was given to me by Aunt Myrtle”)