OK, I admit it. Tonight, I feel tired. I feel tired, ageing and achy. Most of this is due to working hard, but some of it is due to having so many unfinished items on my long-term To-Do lists, that the weight of expectation that each one represents is crushing. Frankly, there are so many things I would ideally like to do, but don’t have the energy to do, that listing them all is just oppressive. Far from being a motivator, it just discourages me.
What all the patented productivity methods don’t admit is that each one of us is a finite resource. There is only so much we are capable of accomplishing, in a lifetime. At some point, your desire to do more can’t be fulfilled by your limited mortality, strength, energy and vitality. Some things are just going to have to fall by the wayside and there is no sense in fretting about it. There are things on everybody’s To-Do lists that are, quite frankly, just never going to happen.
So why do we feel so crappy about that? It seems that active, creative minds always want to do just one more interesting, exciting project. Even when your plate is completely full and you’re already juggling like mad to manage your time, energy and alertness, there is always a temptation to add one more item to your To-Do list. Worse still are those that place unrealistic expectations on you, or who presume to fill your dance card on your behalf, for fear of you not having enough to keep you occupied, with your own agenda. The guilt associated with letting other people down can frazzle you even more comprehensively than you already are.
Remember this, though: Your To-Do list is largely self-inflicted and completing it is not compulsory. You don’t actually have to do any of it, if you don’t want to. The problem is that you want to.
Relax. Do what you can and be thankful that you could. Maybe you won’t achieve the superhuman feats that the productivity industry insists are possible, but never forget that every corpse on Mount Everest was once a highly motivated person. There’s only so much you can do. If you can’t do it all, congratulations! You’re human, mortal and finite. You’re not a freak of nature or some kind of earthly God after all. At least you won’t have to produce miracles.
Be thankful for anything you do complete. Crossing one off your To-Do list might result in simply adding another three or four tasks, but look to the completed task list in isolation, from time to time. Marvel at how much you’re actually done. It’s usually a staggering and sobering surprise, I assure you.
So, given that I am tired, I am not going to make this post a long one. Heck, I normally don’t even attempt to post, on a Monday night, so think of this as some kind of peculiar bonus.
I don’t know who made the following image, which appeared on my timeline today. It’s probably breaking every copyright law known to mankind, but it was sort of apposite:
Have a restful evening. Recovery, relaxation and recreation are important, too.