7 Feb 2011
I was going over my to-do-list and much to my chagrin, found more unchecked items then checked. I must confess to a temporary inner urge to check off some items and pretend I did them. After all, who would know and it would make my to-do-list look pretty good. Nothing is more satisfying than completing all the items on my to-do-list.
I then could boast to the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage of my most productive week. Then on Saturday night I could sigh quite deeply and say, "I sure am tired tonight after that week's work." I don't often have such bragging rights.
I could almost hear my wife saying, "You poor dear. Why don't you relax in your chair while I go make you a nice hot cup of coffee." This would be the reward of a week well labored through.
Like that's going to happen!
If that ever did happen I am quite sure she would bombard me with 10 items she did this past week for every item I did. Then it would be up to me to say, "You poor dear. Why don't you relax in your chair while I go make you a nice hot cup of coffee."
I would face, however, the great danger of her adding to my to-do-list, since, as she would explain to me, I'm all caught up. Getting all caught up is not the trophy some people would make it out to be.
Therefore, it behooves me to keep some of this stuff to myself. I sure do not need another item on my to-do-list.
While I was musing along this line, I happen to run a thought through the old egg plant. What would ever happen if I did get all caught up? What does a dog do, for instance, when he catches his tail?
If I did get all caught up one week it probably would be the result of starting the week with low expectations. Thinking along this line, it begins to make more sense to me. The higher my expectations are during the week, the lower the chances are that I'm going to accomplish it. If, on the other hand, my expectations are low the chances are rather good I will accomplish them.
This certainly gives me pause for thought.
Just imagine a week when I complete my rather sketchy to-do-list by Thursday, no make that Wednesday, as long as we are imagining. Imagine the luxury. It would certainly boost my level of self-confidence, at least for that week. I can end the week feeling I actually finished all of my projects for the week. I do not have to tell myself that I lowered the number of projects for the week. Just let me continue in this ruse for a while, after all I am easy to fool.
The result of this would be that I probably would not be so grumpy by the time it came Saturday night. I would have little more energy and be a little more chipper. Maybe instead of collapsing in my chair Saturday evening I could do something around the house. Maybe I could organize my library, or, rearrange my desk.
No, I tell you what would happen. My wife will find out. Trying to keep something from her, something this big, is in the same category as Moses dividing the Red Sea, or, Peter walking on the water.
Then, she would have a list of things for me to do at least a mile long. Her honey-do-list trumps my to-do-list every time. The problem is simply I would have to do those things on her list to her satisfaction. Not that she is hard to satisfy. I just have a lazy streak I cannot seem to shake.
Thinking about this, I have come to a very somber conclusion. It is better to have a longer to-do-list and not finish it then find yourself with free time on your hands before the end of the week. Free time can be very expensive, especially in our home. It probably would take more energy pretending to be busy and avoiding my wife than it would be just to do the work I have to do.
Even if I am caught up, it is only a temporary accomplishment. Next week is just right around the corner with all of those things to do all over again.
So here I am, back at my old to-do-list, but I have a different attitude about it. I do not feel the pressure anymore trying to get everything done on my list. I have discovered something new. It is rather comforting to know that no matter what day of the week it is I have something I can do. It does not matter how busy I have been all week long, at the end of the week I still have more to do.
I think the Bible has something to say about this. I got my Bible down, thumbed through it and found this rather interesting passage. "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest" (Ecclesiastes 9:10 KJV).
My father used to tell me, "Idle hands are the devil's workshop." I do not ever plan to get caught up, but I plan to do whatever I have to do with all my might.
Rev. James L. Snyder