Why I dislike todo lists

Last Saturday I woke up at 8am, and after my morning routine I started to plan my day. I had 7 things I wanted to accomplish, all of them pretty fun actually.

After thinking about which order I should do them I just became overwhelmed and the tasks suddenly felt like work. I wanted to do them all, I just couldn't figure out the optimal schedule for the day.

Then I realized I didn't have to do any of them, at all! It's Saturday and none of the tasks are life-or-death important. I could just do whichever one of them felt best at the moment. After that, move to the next one or call it a day.

After giving myself permission to only do as many tasks as I felt like, I managed to do 5/7 of them. And none of it felt like work, I took my time and enjoyed the things I did.

This is why I dislike overusing todo lists. It turns fun tasks into work. Instead of listening to music and vibing while watering the plants, you think "oh shit I GOTTA water these plants, after all it says so next to one of these little boxes".

Don't get me wrong, todo lists are a powerful tool. They just shouldn't be used for everything. My philosophy is that if a task is not important, and you don't have the motivation to do it right now, you shouldn't add it to your todo list. I used to turn pretty much everything into a todo item, and then feel overwhelmed by the length of the never-ending backlog.

Constantly having a todo list also blocks you from just doing whatever you feel like. See a cable hanging from your desk and want to fix it? Nah, already got 4 boxes I need to tick for today. Better add it to the todo backlog and do it later. It's a never ending cycle.

No todo list means you have room for sudden inspirations which for me often turn out to be the most productive time. And they're self-breeding, one often leads to another.

TLDR: Life is more fun when you don't constantly have some obligations (= your todo list). Do whatever you feel like doing in the moment.

PS. This can be a double-edged sword as it can lead to procrastination. 3-years-ago me couldn't have done this, so I guess this is not for everyone.

#productivity #journal

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