Retrospective To-Do Lists
The other night, having had some trouble getting to sleep, I decided to do a few little jobs I’d been putting off. These included rooting out a number of postcards I’d bought at exhibitions over the years—ranging from the V&A’s Art Deco exhibition to the National Gallery’s Caravaggio: The Final Years—and gluing them into a plain notebook.
I generally keep a little to-do list on a pad of Post-it notes, so after I’d stuck the photos in—something I’d been meaning to do for months but had never got round to—I added the task to the end of the list, and crossed it off.
Anyway, I got to wondering if other people did stuff like this. For me, it’s what I tend to do for tasks that are big or important enough to be on my to-do list (I have a pretty low bar for importance, to be honest), but aren’t for some reason, so I add them after I do them and then cross them off.
Basically it’s a way of increasing the emotional pay-off you get from completing a task; it reinforces the feeling of completion, provides tangible proof that the day hasn’t been a waste, that you’ve got stuff done. Often, because these are tasks you weren’t necessarily expecting to complete, it feels even more satisfying than usual to cross them off.
Last updated 13th Jan 2009