Finishing Touch and Completing To Do Lists

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To Do or Not to Do? I get, what seems to be, undue pleasure at times by crossing out an item on my list of things to do. The mere act of crossing out the item (or ticking the box on the blackberry or PDA “tasks”) is itself a pleasure. That said, I have observed that I get a similar type of pleasure from throwing out a used shirt or holey socks. In trying to sort out where this curious sentiment of satisfaction comes from, I believe the source is rooted in a latent sense of consumerism. Since I have accumulated far too many shirts, ties, t-shirts and socks, the fact that I have entirely “used up” or, better yet, amortized that particular purchase brings a sense of justification for having made the purchase in the first place — thus allaying the guilt of hyper consumerism. Looking for the positive spin, I am satisfying my eco-conscience? As it turns out, most of my old shirts are recycled as clothes in the kitchen and my old silk ties are craftily reappearing in remodeled skirts (for my wife) or lengthened dresses (for my daughter). In any event, between throwing out or “letting go” of worn items and putting things on the “done list”, I feel there is a psychological link.

43 thingsCrawling the net for lists of “things to do,” I came across the inevitable “social network” around sharing, of all things, lists of things to do. This one is called “43 things to do*”… and what struck me was that one of the more popularly shared items…was “getting better posture,” I kid you not, with over 6,000 (girls it would seem for the most part). To render this “desire” relative, there were 19,266 (as of today) people who had “fall in love” as top of their “to do” list…which is beginning to sound like a wish list, no? Unfortunately, there are almost as many people (15k) who want a tattoo.

And, for fun, I list the Top 50 things to do before you die, as cited by NBC viewers. I invite you to scroll down and count off the ones you have done, the ones you’d like to do and then the other ones where you scrumple up your forehead in concern for the person who thought of THAT. My own choices of the latter category are in blue. Italics for peanut gallery comments.

  • Watch whales migrate
  • Go white water rafting
  • See wild game on an African safari
  • Find a long-lost friend — Explains part of the success of Facebook!
  • Learn to dance
  • Fly a plane
  • Drive a NASCAR race car
  • Appear on Broadway
  • Dive the Great Barrier Reef
  • Skydive
  • Golf on a world famous course
  • Travel the Nile in Egypt
  • Be serenaded by a Venetian gondolier
  • Swim with the dolphins
  • Play with an orchestra
  • Paint the Big Apple red
  • Float in a hot air balloon
  • Sip a mint julep at the Kentucky Derby
  • Visit the Oval Office
  • Trace your roots
  • Helicopter over a Hawaiian volcano
  • Ride a mule down the Grand Canyon
  • Stroll along the Great Wall of China
  • Cruise in a Ferrari
  • See the Taj Mahal at sunrise
  • Walk the Inca trail at Macchu Picchu
  • Ride a Harley down an open road
  • Feed sharks
  • Scale a famous peak
  • Explore a Rain Forest
  • Learn to be a cowboy
  • Play ball in a Major League park
  • Prepare the world’s finest meal
  • Be an extra in a movie as opposed to being on Broadway!
  • Gaze upon a magnificent waterfall
  • Horseback ride along a beach
  • Conquer a fear
  • Ride a steamboat down the Mississippi
  • Dive in a submarine
  • Taste the finest wine
  • Run a marathon
  • Write a song or poem for someone you love
  • Volunteer overseas
  • Visit a nudist colony
  • Explore the Alaskan wilderness
  • Hover in a blimp
  • Eat a cheeseburger in paradise
  • Run with the bulls in Pamplona
  • Say a special thank you Why not do it every day!
  • Experience weightlessness

While I’m on the To Do kick, check out the To Do List Blog (parenting to do’s for 2008 and more) and the newly released To Do List book!!

And one of the more popular web-based To Do List softwares, called TaDa List

Something of an obsession: wanting to get things done, no?

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* What is 43 things? 43 Things is a “social media” site around things to do… where you can write down your goals, get inspired by others, and share your own progress. What you have to love about this site? The fact that they came up with 43 things. Just my kind of off-the-wall number. And it happens to be my age. Anyway, take a peak!

2 Comments, RSS

  1. Noëlle

    et si le plaisir de cocher les items sur la to do list était lié à la culture/religion (protestante plutôt que catho d’ailleurs)? ma grand-mère était protestante, le travail valeur essentielle dans ma famille … et j’ai le même ressenti que toi !
    j’adore la liste “to do before I die”, merci ! (fière d’en avoir accompli quelques uns)

  2. Minter

    Bien heureusement il nous reste encore des choses a faire, Noelle! Forcement, il y a une programmation qui s’est faite et, malgre nous, on vit avec. Pour moi, l’interet c’est de rassembler les habitudes/comportements (dans diverses parties de ma vie) et ensuite de retrouver du sens vis a vis mes valeurs (et a fortiori les croyances or “belief system” as I would prefer to call it).

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