Day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year there are a never-ending onslaught of articles, blog posts, podcasts, conferences, books, training sessions and seminars about using to-do lists to boost creativity. There are an infinite amount of styles, formulas, structures and strategies for creating, maintaining and implementing task lists. However, for me…they all were like a noose around my neck. Confining, limiting and down right suffocating. Most start with some form of a mind dump…getting everything in your head onto paper so you can get it all done. Every time I’d do the mind dump I’d look at an endless list of stuff to get done, feel like I was stuck under water, go into some kind of breathless panic attack and start looking for a large, speeding truck to lay down in front of. Time and again I’d download some new app that was suppose to be the magic bullet for productivity only to find I killed productivity by trying to learn the flippin’ thing. List after list…mind dump after mind dump…app after app…system after system…would leave me on the floor curled in the fetal position sucking on Kleenex and reciting stanzas from “Green Eggs And Ham”.
Then one day I took a look at a mind dump list I’d just made…and realized, “Half of this crap won’t make any difference to anyone if it gets done. It won’t change the world, won’t further God’s Kingdom and it won’t help me do the things I feel called by God to do!” So I crumpled up the list, chunked it in the trash and made a vow never to be hobbled by a to-do list again. It felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. The sun came out, angels sang songs of jubilation and small Disney-like animals became my friends. I could breath, I could think and I could dream. I stopped sitting around making endless lists and started actually doing the things I had a passion for. If I forgot to get the milk or fill out a form no one would die. If my inbox didn’t get to zero and a task fell by the wayside life still went on. The “big rocks” got written on a whiteboard in my office (which I’m rarely in – offices suck) – not all of the details and tasks – just the initial passion-driven idea. Really important tasks that further those “big rocks” occasionally get scheduled into my calendar if they are date-specific or time sensitive. There is no “didn’t get it done guilt”. There is a free mind to dream big dreams. There is a relaxed leader that enjoys what God called me to. I killed the to-do list and rediscovered my passion. Give it a try…unless you’re OCD…you’ll never use a to-do list ever again!!!