I was trying to remember when I wrote my first to-do list. Maybe in high school or college. It probably contained pretty simple stuff like finish English homework, start science project. Since I liked English, I probably did that and crossed if off my list with a great sense of satisfaction with a bold, thick line affirming the accomplishment. Given that I was pathetic at science, start science project probably lingered until the ink faded, hanging on the dreaded end of the to-do list ‘til the last possible hour.
Decades later, I still have mixed feelings about to-do lists. I don’t know how you feel about to-do lists, but here’s my inner, secret feelings laid bare. I love to-do lists and I hate to-do lists.
I love them because they provide order and a sense of satisfaction when you check something off. DONE with a capital D-O-N-E. I hate them because they remind me of all the things I wanted to get done and didn’t. That’s when they become a burdensome reminder of personal failure and the subject of discontent because staring you right in the face is the unavoidable warning of how much still lays ahead. Like Sisyphus, the to-do list tells me I am condemned to rolling a huge boulder up a steep hill and never reaching the top but awakening every day to try the task again.
Clearly, I am not alone facing the to-do list dilemma. Do I make one and try to accomplish some part or do I just rise every morning and without list, get done whatever I can without being reminded of whatever I didn’t? The reason I know I am not alone is there are now dozens, if not hundreds, of tools you can use to make to-do lists or lists of any kind. There are apps like Tick Tick, which reminds me of something that you would take a pet to a vet to cure, and Toodledo, which makes me think of Tweedledee and Tweedledumb, and Any.do and Google Keep and Todoist and others.
There are spread sheets of all varieties. You can even Google a list of the 10 best to-do list apps. Then there are the places you can make lists today that never existed back in the day when a half scrap piece of paper torn longwise would do it. Now you can write it on a white board, or an e-board, on your phone or on your Outlook calendar.
But how do you assign importance to what’s on the list? Surely ‘pick up canned dog food’ and ‘write novel’ do not have the same weight. Do you colour code? Assign dates for reminders and intended completion and award points for beating the self-imposed deadline? Do you categorise by relevance or create your own template? Do you add easy stuff like remember to take car keys before starting the car so something can always be crossed off? (Temptation to check off something, anything, early in the day beckons, get up, go pee, brush teeth, preferably in that order.)
Our lives, it seems, are increasingly ruled by lists. We check out lists of foods we should or should not eat. We make lists of places we want to visit, restaurants we want to try, recipes we want to make. We create lists of what we want to do before we die and call them buckets after the movie by the same name that shamed us all into thinking we should crave doing certain things before we kick the bucket or we lack passion toward life.
Stuck in a quandary, maybe I’ll just make a list of the pros and cons of making a to-do list. What about you?
The power wasn’t in the delivery, it was in the message
“They’re doing it as we sit here,” former special counsel Robert Mueller told the United States Congress Wednesday, referring to Russian spying intended to interfere with US elections.
Mueller will not win best actor award at any ceremony this year but he must be recognised and commended for a performance that should go down in history as landmark. In seven hours of testimony, answering questions that were damming or flattering depending upon which political party was shoving them at him, Mueller remained true to his non-political, moral code.
In the end, he had this message for anyone who did not read the 400-page report that was the result of a two-year investigation into foreign interference in American elections. Spying and interference with elections happened and it is continuing to happen and will be the biggest threat to American democracy the country has ever known. It was not a hoax, it was real and the fact that it was intended to help Donald Trump is a short-term result.
The fact that forces outside America could control what happens inside America is where everyone who is American or counts on America’s freedom, as we do in The Bahamas, should shiver in fear and make Herculean efforts to stop it before it poisons a process that is one of the few official systems an increasingly distrusting majority still trusts. Mueller did not have to speak like a preacher or an orator. The power did not have to be in the delivery. It was in the message he delivered.
You’ve got to hand it to the headline writers
In Florida, a land of memorable headlines, this has to be one of the best. Thanks to the editor at The Fugitive who published this: Police say Man with No Arms and No legs is Armed and on the Run
To reply to Diane Phillips, e-mail Diane@dpa-media.com