As an ENTP, I abhor repetitive tasks. The reason I say this now is that I am writing up solutions to an Economics exam for my education venture. It is taking forever. Every distraction seems like a lifeboat out of this gloom. I usually only deal with English – that’s how the whole thing started. I love English because it is creative. I love Maths because it requires hard logic and open-mindedness – which is kind of like being creative, though a little different. Having said that, school Maths puts a cap on how creative you need to be. English doesn’t. You can write an essay on Hamlet that’s the best in the world. However, a quadratic equation is just that. School Maths doesn’t ask hard enough questions. Even still, most other school subjects are even more repetitive – case in point here with Economics. Obviously, real life economics is as complex and interesting as anything, but school has a way of putting creativity in a cage. The good news is that English seems to be exempt from this rule.
This got me thinking about how to handle repetitive tasks, or anything nagging in general. I try to have a to-do list to put some kind of structure on my day, it feels like a warden watching over me. I just don’t like the feeling. When I don’t cross something off the list on the day it was meant to be done, it reappears the next day like a zombie-stalker. It’s an even worse feeling. I certainly don’t feel enticed to do this to-do.
The key to a to-do list is to find the leading domino. What is the most important task? What task will make the biggest difference to the future? What task will the make the other tasks irrelevant? Clearly, a to-do list requires more than execution – it requires judgement if you are going to do it well. Furthermore, to-do’s are just fragments of bigger plans. Their relevance deteriorates faster than than the value of a brand new car. Obviously, the to-do’s arise from a plan on how to solve problems and achieve goals. However, whether they address the problem today – isn’t always clear. To-do lists, unless used with care, can be a right recipe to be super busy while you are getting nowhere fast.
I think there is something to be said for playing to your strengths. On that note, how about have a list of problems to solve, not things to do? After all, to-do’s come easily, once you know what you are focusing on. It makes you think, solve, be creative – and be in control. Motivation is all about control. After that you can actually do – execute. This to-solve approach helps with the feeling that you are the powerless servant of a relentless unforgiving to-do list that knows that you should be doing better than you do.