Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Note to Self: A Strategy Doesn't Work if You Don't Use It

This week, I caught myself engaging in a very bad habit. As numerous due dates and assignments to be graded collided, I found myself in an almost constant state of to-do high alert. I'm sure you know the feeling.

But that was only part of the problem. It seemed that the more I had to do, the less I wrote things down. I had a system all set up, and it worked well when I used it. Yet this week, whether motivated by fear, some bizarre sense of saving the two seconds it took to write things down, or magical thinking (if I don't write it down, it will go away), I stopped writing things down just when I needed to most.

Bad plan. Very bad plan.

Once I identified the problem -- or at least the bad habit that was compounding the too-much-to-do problem -- I also realized how easily I could fix it. All I had to do was overcome the urge to curl up in a fetal position under the blankets -- organizationally and metaphorically speaking, that is -- pick up a pencil and write things down.

The relief was almost immediate. Although I still had to everything on the list, I no longer had to carry each item around in my head. I hadn't realized just how much that was contributing to the stress and exhaustion that was dogging me.

In the end, the only way we can make our to-dos go away is to cross them off our lists, either because we did them, or because we made the decision not to do them after all. In order to accomplish this wonderful feeling of accomplishment, however, there's one thing we need to do at the outset.

Write. Them. On. The. List.

Yeah, yeah. Okay. I'm going.

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