Wednesday, June 21, 2006

TODAY'S QUOTE: "Every evening, write down the six most important things that you must do the next day. Then while you sleep your subconscious will work on the best ways for you to accomplish them. Your next day will go much more smoothly. Tom Hopkins

I used to follow this advice. I still make grocery lists, which are oftentimes left behind when I go shopping, but beyond that  I don't write things down like I once did. Nowadays my, "to do" lists are penned with thoughts upon the surface of my mind. I'm an excellent list maker, but I'm an even better list loser. But I do require lists of some sort to gain a healthy level of productivity; doing so inside of a mind I haven't lost yet seems a sensible compromise. It's my belief that when something is written down it constitutes a contract. We pledge future actions, and most of us do our best to accomplish what's put to paper. Lists put to memory can be even harder to ignore. A piece of paper can be mislaid or turned face down, but the mind travels within us no matter where we go.
From time-to-time, life will surely demand a more than fair share of emotional energy from each of us. When times get rough I won't hesitate to make use of pen and paper to redirect my attention and jumpstart my actions. The great thing about owning a useful tool is that once it's yours it remains within easy reach for a lifetime. Just knowing it exists makes needing its assistance much less likely. It allows us to grow stronger, smarter, and more capable of coping without the risk of undue damage. It alters weakness into strength as long as we don't push ourselves past the point of reasonable expectations.

Personally, I think six tasks may be too much to ask of anyone who's easily overwhelmed. The force of whatever knocked us down in the first place simply has to be given some sane consideration. After all, losing a job doesn't sit on anyone's chest as heavily as losing a loved one. Some of us have physical limitations that must  be factored into any equation. Some of us expend a ton of energy into the service of others, making the importance of dusting or mopping less list-able. Our lists must make sense inside of whatever our reality is before we begin or we might as well save our lead. Eventually our catalog will grow to include more of the grunt work, but being too demanding at journeys start can cancel the trip before the first step is ever taken, so list wisely! 

Taking a moment to examine your mindset can also save a lot of disappointment later on. The setting of goals that are clearly unattainable could be your subconscious way of failing while appearing to be really trying. We each have our demons; putting them in charge is like putting a two year old behind the wheel of a car. The trip will be brief and the chance of running into something certain. The unmotivated will see it as torture... the under-motivated will view it as bondage... but anyone who hungers to shake off the do nothings will see it as a lifeline. Don't incite a riot. Don't create a sit down strike. Don't push yourself into yet another nap.  To succeed all that's necessary is to simply reduce the number of tasks, and highlight their importance to better fit your nature and circumstances.