Minute #528: To-Do List

“I don’t know how much more of this I can take!” Mrs. Shulman exclaimed. “With the Yamim Tovim so near, my daughter getting married within two months, and the regular day-to-day grind to deal with — I’m about to scream!”

“I understand,” Mrs. Miller replied. “I know it’s no consolation, but you are not alone. Everyone I know, myself included, has to juggle priorities in order to get things done and still remain sane.”

“You seem so much calmer than I,” Mrs. Shulman said. “Why don’t you get frazzled?”

“I don’t tell this to everyone, but you’re a good friend and I’ll let you in on my secret. I always keep a to-do list and update it constantly. It may not seem like much, but it goes a long way toward keeping me on track,” Mrs. Miller said.

“I can’t believe that can work. It’s just too simple,” Mrs. Shulman replied.

The simplicity of the suggestion belies its effectiveness. First, one who has a list will not forget any of the tasks that must be done. Second, one who has a list can separate the more important goals from the less necessary ones by prioritizing.

Most important, and least apparent, is that a list relieves pressure. Just knowing that everything is down on paper gives one the peace of mind to allow thought and patience to enter the mix and facilitate success. One feels: “True, I might not get to everything, but I shouldn’t get overwhelmed. Whatever is on the list that might not be accomplished by the end of today goes to the top of a new list for tomorrow.”

Try it! You’ll be surprised by how much you accomplish and how much better you’ll feel about what doesn’t get done.

One More Second: Another Thought for the Day

True humility is relaxing. It frees us from the need to seem perfect, to be a person who never makes mistakes. With humility, we can calmly say “I was wrong,” or “Yes, I made a mistake.” Humility is the awareness that we are fallible human beings with no claim to perfection. (Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, Anger! The Inner Teacher, p. 127)