New on the To Do

Wednesday February 9, 2022

I like a good “To Do” list, don’t you? It gives structure to the day and ensures things don’t get forgotten. And it’s satisfying to put a tick next to each completed task.

I’ll come back to that list in a moment, but first, something else – which is relevant, I promise.

Last week I didn’t have covid. No, really, I didn’t. Three lateral flow tests and a PCR all came back negative: it wasn’t covid. Well, all I can say is, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and flies like a duck, but isn’t a duck, please pass me the Field Guide to Birds, so I can identify that wild goose!

It knocked me completely off my feet. In fact, I was in bed, snuggled in my warm, fluffy dressing gown, as I replied to all your kind comments on my blog last week. I’m still tired and find the least activity exhausting.

Back to the To Do list.

I find it helpful to colour-code my list. I use the method described by Stephen Covey in his excellent book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. He divides tasks into important/not important and urgent/not urgent.

Tasks which are important and must be done that day, I colour orange. For example, I must take my daughter to school on Thursday, as she has an important exam, and we cannot trust our unreliable bus service to get her there on time. Things that are important but not urgent, like the laundry, or writing this blog, are green. Of course, these tasks can become orange if ignored: if my family has no clothes, for instance, or if it’s aTuesday – oops – that’s today! Things that must happen today, like attending a meeting, might not be important – I can read the minutes later – and I colour these yellow. Then there are the pink ones, those things which are neither important nor urgent.

Mr Covey tells us to spend most of our time in the green zone and to minimize the orange zone by doing those green things promptly and regularly, so they don’t become orange. Hmmm – good advice, Mr Covey; I wish I could follow it.

I have discovered, however, it’s important to do at least one pink thing a day. These tasks can bring a disproportionate feeling of satisfaction. In fact, if I complete a pink task first, it really sets me up for the day, so I can concentrate on the orange and green things. Yesterday I tidied and reorganised the medicine cupboard; it made me feel good.

Today’s list is short. In fact, there are only two important items, both orange: write this blog and rest. If I rest, I will get over this wild goose quickly. I’ve never before put “rest” on the list, but I can see it makes sense.

And at the end of today I will have the satisfaction of giving both these jobs a big fat tick.

A Moodscope member.

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