A KEY WORK ACCESSORY – although its actual form can vary from person to person – is a To Do List (“TDL” for short). Further, for most of us, it would be a very fulfilling day if we have managed to cross all items in this list when we prepare to wind up for the day. Personally, I maintain several sets of the TDL – one in physical form strategically placed alongside my PC which I keep looking at, one inside it, another in my mobile and a truncated version of it on a page holder containing the top priority items.
IT HAS BEEN A MATTER OF CONSIDERABLE interest to me how items in the TDL get juggled or even dropped off. Further, for several days none of these items get accomplished when a whole set of new urgencies displaces them. It also requires presence of mind and a strong nudge for one to return to the old list as soon as one has completed attending to the emergencies on hand. There is always a lingering interval before this happens and for some inexplicable reason, sometimes, the recovery time for one to attend to the original list that is crying for attention is longer than it should be.
AN ENORMOUSLY POWERFUL factor that causes one to juggle priorities at the work place is when one is at the receiving end of persistent follow up efforts initiated by a Department or an individual to whom the disposal of a particular item in the list relates to. The thought that crosses one’s mind then is this – “Well here is a guy who needs it badly or who is at least conscious of his needs. Let me attend to this guy first.” On the other hand a call from someone in the higher echelons of management can completely throw a TDL overboard even if, from one’s own personal perspective, the particular item with respect to which one’s attention is demanded is of considerably less importance! But then as the saying goes : THE BOSS IS ALWAYS RIGHT AND WHAT THE BOSS WANTS, THE BOSS GETS !
IT IS ALSO A SOURCE OF AMUSEMENT when one sees personal and official items stated in the same TDL. In a former job I held, I had a colleague who always proudly proclaimed a success rate of 70% on his daily TDL only to discover on a particular day that 7 out of the 10 items read as follows : (1) Call Shobha (2) Get Abhay’s pencil box (3) Pay the BEST bill (4) Remind Ashok for the PAN Application Form (5) Contact Landlord for renewal of the lease (6) Get the Maruti Brochures (7) Ask for the financials of GESCO (8)Follow up on Mr Mehta’s Personal Guarantee (9) Recast financial assumptions of the Navneet Group and (10) Remind YS for his feedback on the draft letter to ABL submitted last Wednesday..
SURELY IN A DAY OF 24 HOURS, allowing for 8 hours of sleep at least, personal things ought to be accomplished as effectively as the official ones and the trick in achieving what is termed as work-life balance is in the completion of both personal and official tasks to the best of our ability so that both spheres have less turbulence. Quite honestly, as long as the things that ought to be accomplished on time are indeed accomplished it does not really matter if one’s TDL contains an express declaration of both personal and official items. The TDL would actually provide the much needed focus that our lives need.
PERSONALLY, THE TDL has been a life-long obsession and indeed the item “To start a Blog” was on my TDL for well over six months and got struck off only on August 15, 2013 when I wrote the Intro to this blog. Fourteen years ago, my first short story that made to the Sulekha List of Finalists dealt with a TDL. Those curious may click on :