The Tyranny of Lists

June 14, 2014

“A tyranny of lists engulfed me.  The lists created the illusion that my life was full.”
— Sue Bender, Plain and Simple

My current "To-Do" List

My current “To-Do” List

And here is the dark side of list making:  giving the “illusion” that my life is full.  It is perhaps a false sense of accomplishment when tidy check marks indicate the completion of tasks.  Yes my life is full, but full of what — those myriad duties and tasks of running a household which are sometimes not that rewarding or satisfying, but which need to be done whether they are on a list or not.

Here are two lessons I need to keep in mind about these seemingly insignificant tasks on my “To-Do” lists:  First, with the right attitude, I can find the sacramental in even the smallest activity.

“It’s only what we learn while we’re doing what seems to be basically routine that really counts; how to endure, how to produce, how to make life rich at its most mundane moments.” — Joan Chittister

And second, it is important not to lose sight of the Being in all the Doing.  In fact, I need more unscheduled spaces in my life — fewer tasks that steal my attention and energies so that I can spend more time and thought on a few things that I deem important in my life.

“It’s not busyness that destroys us.  It is simply being perpetually busy with things that only scatter rather than deepen us.” — Joan Chittister, Welcome to the Wisdom of the World

A blank “To-Do” list.

What do you think about that!



3 Responses to “The Tyranny of Lists”

  1. I agree and have been contemplating no lists

  2. shoreacres Says:

    I have no idea what I mean by this, but it just now occurs to me, as I think about what you’ve said — perhaps the trick isn’t precisely NO lists, but letting life write our lists for us.

    Then, we could spend more time list-en-ing, rather than doing. 😉

    • Rosemary Says:

      Oh, I like your point. Especially the list-en-ing for the things life might be sending our way. Nice.

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