Bit of a to-do

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  • Book M.O.T.
  • Post office
  • BINS!

It makes me feel organised, purposeful, better about myself. I have a list of things to do, ergo I am in control of my day, ergo I am of some worth. All I have to do is tick off all the things and my day will have been a success.

The first item is often something I’ve already done, just so I start off on the right foot. And sometimes I include the tiniest things on the list, to inject a bit of momentum.

  • Get dressed
  • Breakfast
  • Cup of tea

Internal Judging Voice takes a dim view of all of this, as is his wont.

—Making a list, eh? You know you’re only doing it to put off the actual doing of the things, don’t you? And you know you’re not going to get half of them done?

I try to put Internal Judging Voice in his place, but it’s no use. Internal Judging Voice’s place is right there in the middle of my consciousness. He’s not going anywhere. Besides, he’s been doing this for a very long time, and is much much better at it than me.

—I just want to make sure I don’t—

—You don’t want to forget anything. Uh huh. Heard that one before. Now how about doing some work?

—Just got to finish making the list. That’s part of the work.

—Oh yes. I was forgetting.

Internal Judging Voice is right, of course, the sarcastic bastard. Damn him to Sainsbury’s and back.

Shopping lists are good. Straightforward and easily fulfilled. Until, that is, you find yourself wandering around the aisles of an unfamiliar supermarket for the fifteenth time, muttering ‘Where do you keep your eggs, you utter bastards!’ under your breath.

  • Parmesan
  • Bin bags
  • Cat fud

Some items on my admin list might be regarded as Rules For Life:

  • Ring L – always Mozart if poss, but difficult!
  • Ask N why always Mahler, how about Sibelius???
  • Email B – percussion not needed before 11.30

And then there are the 3am jottings, the ideas and thoughts and bits of dialogue that have to be written down, fresh from my dream-addled brain, before they disappear. At the time of writing them down they are pivotal to the success of whatever magnum opus they’re to be included in. That is also the only time at which they make any sense.

  • Killer line: ‘He’s not a murderer, he’s a very naughty boy.’
  • Book idea: friends on boat + cricket + birds + MURDER PLOT
  • Beach —> cemetery —> REDEMPTION of a particular kind with crows

Perhaps I should stop making lists. Or at least I should make them more realistic, more reflective of how I spend my time.

  • Tidy kitchen table AGAIN
  • Worry about clunking noise in boiler
  • Ponder futility of all human existence

Or perhaps make a virtue of the things I perceive to be a waste of time, things I beat myself up for.

  • Procrastinate
  • Mooch
  • Flummock

Even better, how about a ‘not to do’ list. Things that don’t need to be done? I could definitely buy into that.

  • Don’t put your daughter on the stage Mrs Worthington
  • Don’t panic Captain Mainwaring!
  • Don’t worry; be happy

Or how about, in among all the ‘busybusybusy, I must be busybusybusy and get things done, because I must be seen to be productive otherwise people will judge me’, how about in among all that, a ‘standing order’ list of things that I need to be reminded to do, things that make all the other stuff more bearable, things that yes, I do have time for in amongst the hullabaloo and scurrying around of daily life?

  • Breathe
  • Relax
  • Turn off your phone
  • Sit down with a cup of tea and a book

Bearing all that in mind, today’s list was easy enough, fulfilling my new precepts of list-making.

  • Breakfast
  • Watch cricket
  • Read
  • Meet David at Crystal Palace Park and look at birds
  • Buy cheese
  • Blog
  • Watch West Wing (parenting duty)

Nearly there. Sod you, Internal Judging Voice.


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3 comments

  1. I can so relate. I am especially fond of the name Internal Judging Voice, as I most definitively have a powerful one. Where do those come from, really? Do we all have them?

    Also, hell if I can make it around an unfamiliar grocery store, bearing a list of four items, and find anything, (we always call it “cat fud” by the way.)

    I find my lists hidden around the house and then wonder if I ever finished ticking off the items on each one. One can use the old ones to make a new one and save time, which one can then use to eat a bagel, which I just did. It wasn’t on my list for today, but I did it anyway. So there, IJV.

  2. I can so relate. I am especially fond of the name Internal Judging Voice, as I most definitively have a powerful one. Where do those come from, really? Do we all have them?

    Also, hell if I can make it around an unfamiliar grocery store, bearing a list of four items, and find anything, (we always call it “cat fud” by the way.)

    I find my lists hidden around the house and then wonder if I ever finished ticking off the items on each one. One can use the old ones to make a new one and save time, which one can then use to eat a bagel, which I just did. It wasn’t on my list.

    1. ‘Cat fud’ (in honour of the great Far Side cartoon, of course – I’m sure your usage is for the same reason) should become the standard spelling.

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