After weeks of sheltering-at-home (84 days, but who’s counting), working remotely has taken on a relatively normal work-like feel. Although I don’t have a broad expanse of industrial desk to spread my work things out on, an ergonomically adjustable chair to sit in, or a lakeside view to gaze out upon, I have the basic necessities: a computer, a box of files and reference books, a ledger-sized calendar, and on-demand access to a kitchen with all the coffee I can drink (which is a lot).
The calendar spent the first few weeks . . okay, months . . . in the box with the files and reference books, but when I started losing track of days and booting up the work computer on weekends, I decided it was time to pull out the calendar and put it back to use.
Around the same time, I started rummaging around in the box of files and reference books and pulled out a file folder that had all of the random scraps of paper, notes, and post-its that I had packed up from my desk before leaving back in early March, along with pages from notebooks that (theoretically) had something on them that I either needed to do or to remember.
I figured I should do something with those too. The shredder was my first thought, but it was full.
I dutifully entered everything that was of a “should do this” nature onto an electronic ToDo list; tossed the business cards given to me by people I had forgotten before they even got two steps away into the recycling bin; and added the notes that I was able to decipher into my electronic notebook file, for future reference.
Then I thought, “who am I kidding?”
I can’t remember the last time I looked at anything in my electronic notebook file, and the electronic ToDo list has things on it from years ago that will only be finally crossed off through obsolescence. As I may have mentioned in a previous post or two, I hate ToDo lists. Frankly, my To Do list could be more appropriately called my Never Do list. Or maybe the Should-Do-But-Don’t-Want-To-Do list. Or possibly the Wishful-Thinking List.
While Marie Kondo-ing my dresser and closet this weekend, I had a bit of an epiphany. Well, maybe it was just a thought. My ToDo list definitely does not bring me joy. Constant irritation is more like it.
Once upon a time there used to be a certain amount of satisfaction derived from crossing things off the list, but that ship sailed along with my DayTimer and reasonable workload.
So it’s good by ToDo list and hello I’veDone list.
Okay, not a very catchy name (I’m open to suggestions), but the idea is a shift in focus. Instead of being weighed down by all of the things that need to be done (which I’m hardly likely to forget, if they are actually important), I’m keeping a daily list of the things I have done. My ledger-sized work calendar has big blocks for each day that are the perfect size for me to note down completed tasks (which will come in handy come year-end review time when one must document what one has done in order to earn one’s salary). For non-work tasks, I’ve gone low-tech with a colorful sharpie and one of the many notepads charities are always sending me in the mail along with their pleas for donations.
Sunday’s list was very satisfying:
- remove wasp’s nest from entryway
- weed front yard
- clean-out dresser drawers
- FaceTime with family
- Root beer float
I’m feeling more joyful already. And more creative.
I’m also thinking that changing the focus from “all that remains to be done” to “what has been accomplished” may result in increased some productivity. I can see myself being motivated to finish a task just to be able to add it to the list.
I’ll let you know how that goes.
So, what have you done to change your focus or increase your joy lately?