In Do It Tomorrow, Mark Forster compares the commitments we make to a restaurant menu. Once we say yes to one meal, we’re saying no to everything else. My problem has been either that (a) my eyes are always bigger than my stomach or (b) I want just a taste of everything on the menu.
It’s been so long since I’ve crossed everything off my to-do list in a day that I had no idea how difficult it would be to create one I could actually finish. I thought Tuesday’s list was reasonable but only accomplished 50% of it by bedtime. On Wednesday, I scrambled to accomplish 75% after Mr. Campbell had already gone bed. Finally on Thursday, I cut the length of my list in half and accomplished 100% by late afternoon. I even went on to finish a few of Friday’s tasks ahead of time.
It turns out that I’m easily distracted by what Forster describes as “randomness,” or anything that isn’t on my list and is therefore unplanned. I wrote down every random task that I performed on Tuesday (including writing down every random task), and it became obvious why I couldn’t finish my to-do list that day.
If I were alone in facing these time management challenges there wouldn’t be so many books on the topic. It was a common refrain at the networking event I attended Tuesday night. People feel torn in so many directions that they don’t know how they’ll get everything done. Time management becomes one more thing to try to do. Judging from how calm and satisfied I felt after accomplishing my list on Thursday, it was worth it. The problem is, according to my Myers-Briggs profile, I don’t like to do things the same way twice. This might explain why I only accomplished 100% of Friday’s list after Mr. Campbell went to bed again.