HOW MANY TIMES have you stayed busy all
day and yet at the end felt like you got nothing done? You know
what I'm talking about? It feels like your actions are futile.
All that work, all day long, and it feels like you did nothing
How can this even be possible? I wonder
if a hunter-gatherer feels that way? Hell no. At the end of the
day, he's got a pile of nuts or a dead deer to show for it. Does
a bricklayer ever feel like her actions are futile? No. When
she started the day, the wall was only two feet high. Now it
is eight feet high.
What I'm driving at here is that the problem
is not you. It's the tasks. The modern world is full of invisible,
hard-to-remember activities. Like banking online, for example.
And these activities are not in any way futile or unimportant.
They can be very important. But they aren't visible. Once
you finish your banking task, you close your computer, and what
happens? Your desk, your world, looks exactly as it did before
you started as if nothing has happened.
Now that we can start to see what the problem
is, a solution begins to seem obvious: Become a bricklayer. No?
Well then how about this: Make a list of what you do as soon
as you finish it. It's like making a to-do list backwards.
So as soon as you finish your banking,
write on a piece of paper, did the banking. Maybe even
put a checkmark next to it. Do the dishes, then write it down
and checkmark it. Do that throughout the day, and then
and this is the most important part before you go to bed,
read that list.
What will happen if you do this? It will
produce three very helpful results.
1. You will no longer feel that your
actions are futile. You won't be demoralized by the sense
that you are spinning your wheels and getting nowhere.
2. It is motivating. When you see
that you are in fact, getting things done, and many of
those things are important to you and move you toward your goals
in life, you are motivated to do even more.
3. You will find out how you spend your
time. This will lead to an improvement in the use of your
time without even really trying. At the end of the day you'll
look at your list. Sometimes you'll see that many of the things
you've done were not very important. You haven't really noticed
that before because those activities have also been invisible.
Make a done list every day, adding to it
every time you complete even the smallest task, and at the end
of the day, read it over. This will go a long way to counteracting
the futility-inducing demoralization of modern life.
Write down your tasks
as you complete them.
Read your list at the end
of the day.