Are To-Do Lists Depressing? Yeah, Sometimes.

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The Less Depressing To-Do List

To-Do lists are great, and I’ve been writing them almost daily on a steno pad I keep at my desk while working, or in my bag on the go, and then at my desk at home. I’m always using them to jot down ideas as they come, so I don’t forget them — or organizing my thoughts on what I need to do when I get home, or for the weekend… as a kind of catch all for my home life, my freelancing work, what we’re (my wife and I) doing with any joint endeavours, messages I have to send my clients, messages I have to my peers, and new projects I want to start. I probably suck at To-Do lists. lol. Typically, this ends up turning into a huge pile of crap that’s impossible to complete… or at least impossible to complete while also paying attention to my dogs, my house upkeep, my wife, my son, my friends, and so on. Routinely some of the larger ticks on the daily list end up spilling over to the next day, and the next day, and the next day… until I eventually lose interest in them and they fall away into nothingness.

Then I thought to myself… what a masochistic way to organize one’s thoughts.

Time is valuable, and a list of negative reinforcement isn't a way to stay productive. Today I’m trying something new. A reverse to-do list. I’m going write a list of everything I’ve accomplished as I do it, from the time I wake-up. To curb the tension and create a release valve of sorts, I feel this experiment might be a fun thing to do when things get tough. My aim is to bring some positivity and motivation to the day without any overhanging dread, anxiety, or looming deadlines. Sure the things that contribute to those feelings are all still in play, but I don’t need to broadcast them to myself every time I look at the same page of notes and items for more days than intended. If I know myself this won’t catch on as a habit for me, but I’ll get some use out of it occasionally. Maybe sharing it here is enough of a stress relief. It’s an idea.

Ryan CaldaroneComment