14 September 2023
Reading time: 3 minutes

How is your To-Do list ?

Changing our lives doesn't happen on its own; action is necessary to bring about change.

It's called the law of entropy: Any state without outside impulse will degrade or decline.

Everything rots unless you put energy into maintaining or improving it.

I call this Cultivation – taking care of what already exists and maintaining a level of standards for that area in our lives.
It differs from Creation – making or acquiring something new that didn't exist in our life before.

And how do we maintain the things we need to do?

Usually, we create a to-do list. We tend to put every action on it. But because of that, we can be overwhelmed and frustrated as the list seems to grow exponentially.

Many times we clean it up, finish everything on the list, and feel a sense of accomplishment. But we find ourselves frustrated when the same tasks resurface a few days later. It becomes a neverending story.

The problem lies in neglecting the distinction between finite and infinite tasks.

Finite tasks are goals or actions that, once completed, need no further attention. For example, baking a cake is finite – you gather ingredients, mix, bake, decorate, and then it's done.

If your goal is to bake a cake for every birthday, it becomes an infinite task with set intervals. – in this case, yearly – AND a finite goal of making the cake at a specific time.

Understanding the difference between cultivation and creation is crucial for approaching tasks effectively.

Creation tasks need us to "do" something once. Cultivation tasks involve "maintaining" something regularly. Setting up a budget for the year is a one-time creative task. Maintaining the budget is a recurring cultivation task.

Frustration often arises when we fail to recognise the distinction between infinite (cultivation) and finite (creative) tasks.

The solution? Don't use a to-do list.

What? Lubo, are you crazy?

Yes and yes. ???? Please, hear me out.

You can be more present and content with your to-do list by dividing it into two. One with creative do-and-done projects and the second with cultivating do-and-do-again processes.

There is a scientific reason for this.

You see, our brains function differently when tackling maintenance or creative tasks. Every switch between those two irritates the neural pathways. Avoiding constant switching makes us more productive AND calm.

Imagine the switch as a funnel.
Funnel image
The wide opening is on the side of creative work and the narrow opening is on the maintenance side.

Switching from creative work to cultivation is fairly easy. (Although there might be an irritation if you are in the flow and someone disturbs you). It's because in creative flow our minds are wide open, receptive to new ideas, and ready to take on any challenge.

But switching from cultivation maintenance mode to creative is far more difficult. It's because our minds are on the narrow side of the funnel. It takes an effort and a time to expand back into creative thinking. Which leads to lost time and frustration from slow progress.

My tip:
Divide your to-do list into two distinct areas: Create and Cultivate.
Set blocks of time for each type of task. During creative block do only creative tasks. During cultivation block do only repetitive maintenance tasks.
You will enhance productivity and avoid stress from constant changes.

Pro tip:
Keep a notepad handy.
If during the creative work you will encounter cultivating tasks (and vice versa), do not switch what you are doing.
Make a short note of the idea and – after finishing the current working block – add the new task to it's relevant list.
This way you avoid switching and ensure that you will not forget the new idea.

In summary,
  • divide your time into two distinct areas.
  • allocate specific blocks of time for creative work and separate blocks for cultivation tasks.
  • don't switch between different types of tasks.
This approach will allow you to be more productive and reduce frustration by keeping the two types of work separate.
Stay awesome and have a great week.


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