Forget the To Do List

After years and years of making lists, I’ve come to the realisation that I’m not a list person. While that’s the advice given and share in the motivational world, make a list get it out of your head, it doesn’t work for me. I prefer to keep it all in my head.

I might forget particular jobs this way but even with a list I’ve let some projects go unattended, especially since I have so many lists each for the different areas of my life.

Blank to do list
blank planner

By not making a written list, I can adjust the order of the jobs as I need to in my mind depending on other priorities that might come up during that day. By having this flexibility it means I can allow my intuition influence over what gets done as suited for the day, my mood, and what else is happening in my life. It’s a more harmonious approach, my anxiety levels are reduced, and I don’t feel like I’m forcing myself to get things done or that I’m weighed down by shoulds and should nots. This way my mind can rearrange the to-do list in a flexible and intuitive way, the way I like to approach life.

Of course my ego protests. It voices its doubt, and that there’s no way this creative approach will work. I’ll never finish projects or make progress and it will, as in my life, will be a mess. This is life. A mess. For sure, there are times when lists are helpful. But when my life is just as productive and less stressful when I take a more fluid approach, I notice that maybe these goal driven approaches aren’t for me.

While I do have a strong logical brain, I also have an equally strong creative brain. Based on how unpredictable life can be, how chaotic it is, and how one is really not in control, it makes sense to be able to switch between the two, and give the creativity, the intuitive side just as much value as the logical and planned side.

My dad always kept the details of the farm and breeding of the sheep in his head. There were a few notes in the dusty Elders notebooks in the ute. Your mind is good at remembering what’s important but it’s not usually a finite situation. There’s a limit for how much can be remembered at one time, maybe this can be extended or maybe not. But this is the amount of memory space you have to work with. Over loading it will only lead to a form of shut down. So by working with what you’ve got can actually be expansive. It’s a more feminine approach. Women do it all the time, and no it’s not necessarily about multi-tasking. But more understanding what you’ve got to work with, head space, time, personal energy, environment, other people and then making the best of that in an extraordinary fluid balance that may change without warning or throughout the day multiple times.

It’s not surprising I’m finding I work better this way. After all a big tell tale sign is how I approach my writing. There’s two main ways, connected by a spectrum, pantser or plotter. I’m a pantser. I fly by the seat of my pants when I write the story and characters all come out organically and I don’t plan (like a plotter). It means I often think of plot twists and points on the fly, and come up with ideas spontaneously rather than getting weighed up in the planning. This style isn’t for everyone. What’s important is to recognise what works for you, and then go with that. There are times when you need to switch between the two approaches left or right, logical or creative, planned or unplanned, or maybe even straight ahead in the unique balance which works for you.

the to do list
writing the daily list

Are you a list maker? Does it improve your approach to getting jobs done, and reduce stress levels? Or do you find it easier to have the mental fluid list and do just fine that way? Let me know if lists work for you or not in the comments below.

Thanks for stopping by,

Lilliana Rose

www.lillianarose.com

 

Desktop Clutter

I’ve been meaning to de-clutter my desktop on my computer for years. Uh-um. Many years. Over time the clutter; countless sticky notes, files I didn’t know where to put, images I needed quickly, the odd e-book on my tbr list, and Excel spread sheets that looked lost in the multiple files.

And it annoyed me, a lot.

Every time I logged on to my laptop I couldn’t face dealing with the clutter of information that at one point I deemed important, maybe even vital for my life. Turns out this information wasn’t that important, or it had been superseded by new files, or with new information in the ever changing world we live in. A lot of the information had lost its value. I had more recent photographs of myself to use in posts. I’d written new stories and increased the number of new releases on my tbr pile. So it sort of became easier to ignore the mess on my desktop and not deal with my filing. But it was silently irritating me. I’d become an electronic hoarder! Unused files sat on my computer, like an unworn dress in my wardrobe waiting to go to that party where there was no invite ever coming.

I’ve tackled clutter in my home, and regularly set aside clothes or items to sell, donate or throw away. Yet on my computer it gradually became more difficult to see the background image and even the files as they began to cover each other.

I needed help! But this was a job that only I could face. I had to otherwise the clutter would build up again. There’s so much electronic information to manage and I didn’t have the system in place nor could I work out one to implement.

What changed this situation around for me? I got a new computer. I had actually gone to the length of putting off getting a new computer because I needed to clean up my desktop. With my computer failing I was given the push I needed. For years I’d put off the job because I thought it would take too long, I didn’t have the time or filing system I needed to address the issue.

De-cluttering my desktop didn’t take long, especially considering the number of files and sticky notes I had to sort through. The task was made easier because having waited so long some files simply went straight to the trash. I wanted to do the job now because I knew the clutter was causing a noise in my head and mixing up my thoughts. I needed to clear the files to give myself some head space. Plus I needed to migrate files from the old to the new computer and I wanted this to be organised and not a chaotic mess. After all, when starting on a new computer I didn’t want to bring over the files that were no longer useful. I wanted to use this as a fresh start.

Even though I’ve spent a lot of time de-cluttering my house I was blocked with my computer. Instead of dealing with it I ignored and avoided the situation even when I knew better. It happens, things sneak up and stay with us not necessarily even hiding in our blind spots.

It took me a while, but I got there. I found the time and motivation to help me get the job done. Of course, now I’ve de-cluttered my desktop, I have extra head space, clearer thinking and feel more inspired every time I log on to my computer. Hopefully this will last and I won’t revert back to old habits!