I had a fantasy the other day (not that kind) where I had finished everything that was on my “To Do” list. Every item had a line through it. I literally had nothing that needed to be done. I must have reveled in that feeling of accomplishment for nearly 10 minutes before a creeping thought took its place, “is it even possible to finish everything on that list?”
That thought was followed by a possibly more troubling answer: “No.”
I can hear you yelling at me right now through your keyboards shouting tales of how you once did it. But, I’ll be honest, I can’t picture it happening in my life.
Can I finish a daily or weekly task list? Sure! I love those lists. Every item that gets crossed out brings a happy glow. Even busy weeks full of tasks, like the week before my wedding can be dealt with through extreme bursts of productivity and liberal doses of panic.
The “Must Do” lists I can handle. But the “To Do” lists that are more goal-oriented are not so easily vanquished.
Here’s the issue – I can handle laundry, Monday’s blog post, car maintenance, a doctor’s appointment and bathroom cleaning. But add something like “write next book” to the list, and that one takes a little bit longer. And it’s not that I can’t break that item down into manageable parts and finish it. I can. But there’s always another creative project waiting in the wings.
All my scripts could stand refinement (because I’m a perfectionist and never want to let them go). I could always start a new one. And even if I was tapped out of new concepts, there is always more to do to push the finished or finalizing projects. There’s always more funding to find. There’s always more support to give to other filmmakers. There’s always more dreaded networking to be done.
I could sit down tonight and write 365 blogs (it just exhausts me even thinking about that), and figure out how to schedule their socialization (as though they were pre-schoolers). But I could still write more. I could still work on improving their SEO. I could still figure out how to improve their freakin’ Pinterest pins. I could always try expanded those networks while somehow managing not be drained by social media demands.
Even if I didn’t have a desire to ever work on another book, script or blog again, I still wouldn’t really be finished. The house can always be cleaner. A layer of new dust seems to start floating down the minute I clean the floors. Seriously, I can see it happening right now! The carpets could always be washed again. And again.
And heaven only knows I could always exercise more (or at all).
So, you see why that fantasy moment of accomplishment turned to despair, can’t you? Luckily, a little coconut frozen treat snapped me out of the downward thought spiral and landed me back in a more productive place. Rather than dwelling on a magical “nothing to do” reality, I’ve decided to focus on moving forward with manageable tasks that can help me accomplish both short and long-term goals.
Sure, occasionally, I’ll think about what it would be like to truly have nothing to do. In the meantime, I’m taking baby steps and celebrating the little victories. And that’s okay.