In my closet I have a box of old journals and once in a while I like to grab one and thumb though it. One thing I’ve noticed while doing this, other than I have the handwriting (and possibly the thoughts) of a schizophrenic, is that I really love making to-do lists.
No matter what notebook I open up, every few pages I’ll find another to-do list. What’s discouraging is finding lists where almost none of the items have been marked off. Whenever I find these, which is more often than not, I wake up the optimist in my head, which comes to my rescue by saying, “It’s an old notebook. You’ve probably done all those things but were too busy being productive to go back and mark them off.” Then I’ll go down the list and confirm what I’ve always suspected. My optimist is a compulsive liar.
Here is the most recent to-do list I found (For the record, none of these items have been completed.)
- Come up w/ wine/alcohol budget
- Clean out office closet
- Learn Pina Colada Song on guitar
For all the music snobs out there, yes, I do know it’s actually called ‘Escape (The Piña Colada Song)’, so go fuck yourself with a seven inch. (Import only, of course.) For those of you who think I included the song as a cheap joke you’d normally be correct, but not this time. It’s really there and I really do want to learn how to play it. That’s the frustrating part: I put off stuff I actually want to do.
I can totally understand putting off creating a budget, but learning the Piña Colada Song?!? As helpful as having a budget would be, it’s never going to help get me laid in a beach-side bar.
In between all the random to-do lists, I’ll also find journal entries in which I’m berating myself for not being more productive. “What the fuck motherfucker?!? Stop fucking around and write! Don’t be such a lazy, unfocused fuckface.” I guess that means I can mark, “Look into becoming a motivational speaker” off all to-do lists.
I suppose I like making lists so much because it’s a way to procrastinate while still feeling like I’m accomplishing something. Sometimes, however, it’s a way of keeping up with my ADD-addled brain, which is no easy task.
A couple of times a month I’ll read a new self-help article about how to be better organized, or how to stay focused. These articles always get me excited. I think, “Finally, I’m going to get my shit together. Productivity, I’m about to make you my bitch!”
But before I can get to making productivity my bitch, I spend a good ten to fifteen minutes thinking about the statement, “make you my bitch.” I get caught up in an internal debate about whether I should say such a thing. First I wonder if it’s sexist and misogynistic. But then I decide that the saying isn’t meant to reference the act of making a woman do something against her will, but about being a good dog owner. Boundaries are important, you understand.
Then the dog lover in me feels horrible for having said something so harsh. So, I stop what I was doing and go hug my dogs. I don’t walk them, though, because I have to get back to my notebook and write “walk dogs more” on my to-do list.
By this time I’ve usually forgotten how I was going to make productivity my bitch. By the way, even if I had made that statement as a derogatory reference to women, you can rest peacefully knowing that even if I had “stalk women” on my to-do list I’d never get around to it.
I’ll give you another example of my list-making, easily distracted tendencies. As I’m writing this I have a notebook open, in which I’ve created yet another to-do list, to which I just added, “Come up with a good ending for Chap post about list making.” Sadly, I’m probably going to find this list one day and think, “Oh, damn, I really should have done that.”
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