After a very busy month of May, my wife and I took a long weekend to relax and recharge. I took the opportunity to make a “to-do” list of things, mostly personal, that needed to get done. By the time I was done, there were about 30 things on the list. I felt really good about myself and my organizational skills and was now ready to get some things done. Here I am a week later, and I realize I forgot to put something on the list. I neglected task #31: DO the list. To date I have not done one thing on the list. Is my list-making just a futile exercise or productivity-flavored self-torture?
The to-do list is an inescapable, age-old productivity tool. It is our very human attempt to create order in our disorderly lives and an expression of our ability to impose self-control (a fruit of the Spirit, by the way). Most of us, including to-do list haters, keep one, and so do 63% of professionals, according to a survey released by LinkedIn.
Would Jesus keep a to-do list? I don’t think he would have (or did) because, knowing all things and being completely filled with the Spirit, he would not need any external reminders. But I think he would say this about to-do lists: “If you can keep all your commitments and get done what you are called to do without writing anything down, no problem. But if you have more to do than your memory is able to hold, one of the other reasons I’ve given you a mind is so that you can figure out a better way to keep track of everything than just keeping it in your head. So go, do what you need to do to remember what you need to remember in order to get done what you need to get done.”
No, there is nothing wrong with to-do lists. They are just difficult sometimes to DO. Perhaps I need to try something different. Maybe a “done” list will work. Yeah, I like that. I need to get started on my “done” list. Do I put that on my to-do list?