To Do Lists: What Am I Even Doing?

As your typical stressed-out, pathologically procrastinating University student on the brink of convocation, I have had my fair share of to do lists, day planners, schedules, and other “staying on track” initiatives in an attempt to calm the dread of failure and stress that is my day-to-day life.

When I began school four years ago, I was the most organized, scheduled, and regimented person that I knew. I had a colour-coded day planner, a to do list a mile wide, and a constant, stress-induced cold sore from being, you guessed it, a total psycho. In the beginning of my degree, my weekly to do list would look something like this:

-work out five times this week MINIMUM

-submit case due Friday on Tuesday at the LATEST

-read chapters for Anthropology Sunday night

As if Caps lock didn’t convey the urgency of my to do list items, I also wouldn’t allow myself to do anything fun until the list was completed.

Now, with only two more months of classes until I am finished, I have found my lists look a little different. A little more “true to self”, if you will:

-work out once this week (if you don’t, it’s okay!)

-Sparknotes chapters before class so you don’t have to read them

-find someone who took this class last year so you can look at their assignment

-only drink (heavily) twice this week

Awe. Do you see how forgiving I am with myself? How much more realistic I have set my expectations in order not to let myself down? I haven’t learned to be a better student, but I HAVE learned how to manage my expectations. However, since there is still the massive part of my brain that craves the illusion of productivity, I have also found myself creating items on my to do list that literally do not need to be done, just so I can cross them out and pretend I haven’t spent the entire day on Instagram:

-watch 5 episodes of the Mindy Project (already done. BOOM. Productivity!)

-Do laundry (my Mother does this-I am a garbage person)

-start a new Netflix series (auto playing the next episode is both the best and worst thing to happen to me)

-only spend $40 on food this week (I change this every week depending on what I actually spent so I don’t disappoint myself)

However, I am truly of the opinion that as long as you still have a to do list, that still counts as being productive. Because at least you have the intention and the will to get things done, even if you don’t.


Well, whatever you have to tell yourself. Amirite?


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