I make a task list everyday at work. Everyday of the items I need to get done, things I’d like to accomplish. I love crossing those items off my list. Making a list keeps me sane, keeps me consistent. It makes me feel satisfied, helps me remember things and most importantly, productive.
I had 11 things on my list. 11 things most needed to get done. Two of the items were meetings; technically not a task, but two must do items that I could have the opportunity to cross off my list and feel good about.
By the time I relentlessly forced myself to pay attention which was the last 20 minutes of my second meeting that I called for, I was over my day. It was 3:48pm and I had been staring at the little clock in the bottom corner of the computer for at least what felt like 2 hours…but only twenty minutes as the words of the speaker droned on. I’d rather watch paint dry. I finally excused myself. I had to get back to the office to wrap up a couple things before my cohort left for the day, who had only popped in briefly.
I was completely over it. I had taken some work home the night before to work in peace without interruptions and I had been up since 3:30 in the morning and worked for another hour and a half over coffee and my dog snoring.
But at that moment, at 3:48 in the afternoon my brain was in the process of shutdown and there was no turning back. I straightened my desk and took hold of my list. What was I doing? Oh yeah, looking to cross off all the tasks I had completed for the day. I stared at my list. This took some thought to cross things off. My fingers ached as I gripped the pen. Stupid joints, stupid aging. I needed a moment. I stood up and locked the files. I shut down my email, turned off my computer, and took hold of my list once more. I took a deep breath and collected my thoughts.
I was busy today, working nonstop. The time had flown by and I had worked through lunch. I blankly stared at my list. Then crossed off three items. Three. I blatantly said aloud, “crossed off 3 out of 11 items.” The office manager replied with a “well you did have a couple of meetings.” I looked at my list again. Technically I accomplished one task then. “Two of the items I crossed off were my meetings!” I loudly replied out my office door. I could hear her chuckle, and another chuckle from someone at the printer. One lousy task crossed off.
As I drove home mulling over my day, I didn’t feel disappointed about not having more crossed off my list, just annoyed. I was more focused on the enthusiasm and imaging a job of nothing but watching paint dry and how many minutes it would take and if I would have to document the level of dryness and how would I know and would it really be more interesting than my last meeting.
Then I remembered I needed to add two more things to my list. And the list goes on. And I accomplished a bit more working from home, listening to my dog snore.