[Moving Zeal] Trash Old To-Dos

Over the years, I’ve written thousands of intricate to-do lists. Throughout this moving process, I’ve found hundreds of them. Most are done. The remainder were impossible to do in one day, so they remained incomplete. Unless you’re keeping them organized for a comprehensive list of what you’ve been accomplishing daily, trash, recycle, or archive them! I think that we should instead prioritize tasks based on how relevant they are today, rather than they were yesterday.

I’m learning the process of writing two daily lists each night.

The first is a post-it note with the most urgent tasks, usually with enough stuff to fill the page, but not enough to overwhelm me into a state of panic the next day – if I oversleep or some other urgent task presents itself later on.

The second is my digital task list.

Everything is detailed and prioritized here. I’ll look at each task to see if it’s something that I can do easily, or if not, I’ll figure out how I can break it out. My next move task is: “Use empty milk cartons to store DVDs, then books.”

This task is straight forward.

I have a few empty milk cartons in my nearly-empty living room without much use, other than for something like DVDs. What I’ll do is casually sort through the DVDs. Anything I want to keep will go into one of those milk cartons.

I changed my mind on another task, so that’s deleted.

Rather than overanalyze the tasks to do, or already done, my mind is free to go through everything and reprioritize everything from yesterday evening with today’s frame of reference. That way, I can focus on what’s important.

Everything else is done based on time and energy.

When we beholden ourselves to past ideas of what to do, it’s tough to get anything done, so I’m using the written list to say: “Here’s what I thought was most important.” The digital list, then, says: “Here’s what’s actually important.”

Because, frankly, I’m exhausted today.

I focused my efforts on editing over packing, and therefore, I’m technically a day behind packing, but I’ve completed all of my required tasks for today. Everything else on yesterday’s to-do list was a wishlist pile to get done rather soon.

I’ll wrap up early tonight and start fresh tomorrow.

After I publish this essay, I’ll do at least one of the items on my to-do list. Probably pack up those DVDs. This way, I have something to account for on my daily “done” list. I’ve called that list Bettermove. Here are three items I did yesterday:

– Cleared out miscellaneous boxes.
– Cleaned the floors.
– Posted ad selling CDs.

Those were good accomplishments! That’s what I’d like to see more of each day, so actually, I had it wrong all along. I saved all those lists over the years anticipating what I “would” do, rather than what’s actually cool: a list of what I “had” done.

We should focus on our successes rather than our predictions.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My personal experiences.
Inspirations: After you see hundreds of to-do lists, you start wondering: What was the point of hanging onto this/these? That question eats at you while you’re taking a break from editing, unearthing another little box full of old to-do lists or saved receipts, and through writing this little essay, I came up with an answer that works for me. Also, when we hold onto these sorts of things, instead of trash them, recycle them, or digitally-archive them, we don’t just physically hold onto them, we mentally hold onto them as well, as though even a 1/10,000th of our brain is dedicated to remembering that we had… something to do… Instead, that paper list will hold me accountable: if it’s still urgent, I’ll find the time today to do it, but if it’s not, then I’ll find the time where I can schedule it better- after I’ve thoroughly broken apart all invisible task dependencies. Then, I’ll throw that list away.
Related: Other Moving Zeal essays.
Photo: Funnily enough, after throwing this in the trash, I realized I didn’t fill in that final checkbox…!
Written On: January 9th [45 minutes]
Last Edited: First draft; final draft.


My big goal is to write. My important goal is to write "The Story." My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame a fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. Let's strive to be better everyday. (Avatar)