Link to Vote for the ENnies! Plus To Do List Fine-Tuning
Last time, I mentioned I’m celebrating an ENnie Award nomination. I’m happy to mention that DriveThruRPG.com curated available 2023 ENnie award-nominated titles for you to check out. Plus: you can vote now for the 2023 ENnie Awards!
On to the rest of my newsletter. Phew! Today, I’m talking about To Do lists.
I don’t know about you, but I find it’s sometimes challenging to track progress given the volume of uncertainties facing many of us in our creative and personal spheres. While word count can and must work for me as a metric, since I am often paid by the word, it can also lead down a perilous path where productivity defines, rather than shapes, my path as a creative individual.
Take, for example, the To Do list. Now, mind you, mine is a glorious mix of personal and professional encapsulated in Habitica where a group of us (called the Taskamancers) battle terrifying entities like the Wailing Whale to earn rewards. Except, my To Do list never empties and there’s always a few tasks that just get ported over to the next list and the next. Ad infinitum.
This, dear reader, is why individual To Do’s are actually Tribbles. They are cute, perhaps smol at first, but spawn more and more for no apparent reason whatsoever.
Marking off To Do’s, while inherently satisfying, isn’t necessarily a sign of progress for me—because the list doesn’t reflect where I am in my career or personal life. There will always be another task to perform; it may be there are different and new tasks that are more reflective of the life I’m shaping, but there’s another deadline just around the corner.
For this reason, I’m finding it helpful to go back and visit the eternal tasks, the ones that have been on the list for some time. There’s a smattering of: “Oh, this is actually a year-long project.” tasks that need to be repurposed. Then, there’s a few “someday” line items, things that I wanted to do for the joy of doing them—like bake these amazing snickerdoodles author Beth Cato devised.
I also have odd items that I have no idea why I wrote them down in the first place. “Make a Dragon Eyeball” is not the strangest thing on the list, for sure (Click this link for instructions) but it points to a crucial question that I should have written down. Why? Why should I make a book with a secret compartment and a dragon eyeball glaring at me on the cover?
Well, thanks to the dragon eyeball I’m exploring the “why” in my To Do lists by adding one sentence in the Notes field on Habitica for each task. Hopefully, this simple act will help break myself out of the mindset that productivity is necessary for the sake thereof and everything I do must be “useful”. (Take that, Puritans! And that!)
The other nice aspect to adding a “why”? It reminds me of their value. That value could be financial, sure, but it can also be emotionally meaningful to mark a milestone with friends and loved ones, too. “Does this task/project have meaning?” Sounds like a much better question to ask myself at this point in my life than: “Is this useful?”
How about you? Do you live or die by your To Do lists? What do you use to collate them?
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