Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The List-Led Life

My life boils down to lists.

Things I will do
Things I should do
Things I wish I did better
Things I want to do but never will

Where is happiness in this list of lists?

The challenge for me is to reframe the lists. Lists imply work must be done and it isn't. There's always something to be checked off. Or, if I reframe, a list can show progress. "Look, I crossed it off my list." Bad part is, the finished work always begets more to do.

Wiser people advise to create lists that represent accomplishable goals. Here's an example of how NOT to do this. My literary list for August includes:

Publish (insert Title 1)
Publish (insert Title 2)
Publish (insert Title 3)

Really? Publish three books in a month (new for me because I'm not an indie author, yet)? (Maybe the list should be Become An Indie Author). Problem here: The task is too large. Therefore, it becomes unattainable. Therefore, it becomes an impossible psychologoical hurdle. Therefore, it doesn't get done.

Result: I'm bad at writing lists.
Ergo: How will I make it as an indie author?

A better list might read:

Reread and edit first chapter of (insert Title 1)
Find layout designer for (insert Title 2)
Write synopsis for (insert Title 3)

My mind knows this breakdown already, the steps to be taken in order to publish Title 1, 2 and 3, but writing it down in smaller steps makes it seem more accomplishable.

Unless you are a procrastinator. Then, lists are meaningless and become detestable reminders of non-productivity. Coffee and food soil them. They end up on the far reaches of your desk. The White Board of Accountability becomes the neice's doodle easel.

Fortunately, I'm not a procrastinor. But that may be why you're here. You are ignoring your own list to be pleasantly distracted by the shining object of your electronic device and the promise of some morsel of knowledge that will make not accomplishing your list worth the wasted time.

Hope this was.

My new list:

Find the happiness.

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