When did it start?
Probably already in kindergarten. I definitely recall an obsession with maximizing the number of red stars (hello, I was born in USSR) on my first grade “performance scorecard”.
It only escalated from there. The Skanavi’s Mathematics Problems Collection for University Applicants, a Soviet classic that has remained with me for the past 15 years, surviving 6 international moves, still bears the pencil “check” marks that I placed there as I conquered its problems one by one.
I am possibly the one person alive who actually read the Project Management Body of Knowledge Guide (easily the driest book in the history of writing) cover-to-cover and took detailed notes.
I am the kind of person who seeks out mixed up formulas, financial knots, impossibly complicated projects – and then throws herself into the often excruciatingly painful process of untangling them, transforming them into the state of shiny perfection.
And as much as I sometimes whine and complain about the process, I actually like it. And the quest for perfection is definitely an important part of my UVP.
The line between radical responsibility and pure insanity…
…is very thin and blurred.
Oh, how much I want to:
- Check every single point off my list by 5pm (30 to-dos in my Tasks folder now, some of them overdue).
- Have every email answered quickly and thoroughly (up to 20 follow-up flags in Outlook, most of them due by the end of the week).
- Get all the photos sorted out and uploaded from last year’s Africa trip (I think we are about 18 albums behind).
- Get on top of my personal projects list in My Life Organized (300+ items, thinking about declaring a to-do list bankruptcy and starting over).
- Catch up with everyone I work with now, worked before, and all the friends I have not spoken to in a while (so many people to learn from; so many people to coach; so many loved ones thousands of miles away).
- Have all my accounts and processes documented in great detail, so that if I flip my convertible speeding on I-10, someone can pick up my work where I left off (good luck to that innocent soul).
And it would be nice to have this post double- and tripled-edited, with appropriate links inserted (I am sure hundreds of people would immediately click through to Amazon and buy PMBOK), and decorated with pretty pictures.
I will never be fully, absolutely, 100% done. My lists will keep getting longer. And I will keep breathing and reminding myself that it’s never about done – it’s about doing.
Join the club?
It’s free admission. To-do list list liberation movement! Let’s not get it done – let’s just do something and see what happens.
Or, maybe simply take a break – breaks almost never make it on our to-do lists.
What say you? To-do lists – are they your allies or bullies?