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The to-do list

Do you ever wonder how you were able to find the focus and stamina to bang out that twenty-five page essay the night before it was due? How about the ability to pack all of your belongings the morning before your friends arrive to help you move?

The answer is urgency. In some cases urgency is of the life or death variety, and in others it is the more mundane fear of failure or scorn. Regardless, there is definitely something special that happens to us when the “chips are down” or when the deadline has arrived.

A strange focus comes over us, it becomes perfectly clear what must be done and the time for excuses and other distractions has passed. We’re able to close our office door without hesitation, turn off our phone without indecision and get it (whatever it is) done.

Have you ever wondered how much better life could be if you were able to harness some of this urgency way in advance? How much better would that essay have been if I could have done it earlier and had more time to perfect it? How much smoother would the move have gone if I had taken the time to pack and label everything weeks before the big day? How much less frustrated would I be if I had changed my winter tires before the first snow storm (yeah I’m from Canada)? Most of these are small matters….would changing them be insignificant or would the sum of all these mini victories make a noticeable difference in my overall happiness?

I don’t know.

But to find out I’m going to spend a moment and write down a list of the things I should be thinking about, planning or doing each month. The key here will be to identify those things that are important and/or would be greatly enhanced if I got ahead of them. I’m going to need all of your help out there. If we can all add a few big ones we can produce quite a comprehensive list.

Maybe some people think this is strangely rigid and are perfectly happy being spontaneous; while others may have an innate calendar that keeps them on track. Congratulations to both of you. I on the other hand need a crutch….and that crutch is this list….. Please help me with it!

Once we have our list I will then move through it chronicling my adventures in organizing….should be fun.


  • Organize Filing cabinets at home
  • Plot out all yearly medical appointments for yourself and family
  • Review all subscriptions and memberships and decide which ones to keep and which ones to kick


  • Clean out and reorganize the Storage Room
  • Book a bank appointment for a full review


  • Clean Out and reorganize the Basement
  • Get Bikes tuned to avoid the “first nice weekend” rush
  • Start looking at summer dates to make sure I have anchored time for what I want to do (go to my uncle’s cottage, camping, pig roast etc.)


  • Get Winter Tires off and get a regular car check up
  • Purge wardrobe and bring excess to goodwill
  • Change Closets over from Winter to Summer


  • Clean out and reorganize the kitchen (especially the cabinets)
  • 1st Christmas check in….start brainstorming ideas for key gifts for key people


  • Enjoy the summer


  • Enjoy the summer


  • Enjoy the summer


  • Clean out and reorganize Garage
  • Clean out and reorganize the linen closet
  • Discuss vacation options for following year


  • Purge wardrobe and bring excess to goodwill
  • Change Closets over from winter to summer
  • Book vacation for following year
  • Clean out and reorganize the kitchen (especially the cabinets)


  • Put Winter Tires on and get a regular tune up
  • Get skis tuned to avoid the “first nice winter weekend” rush
  • Start Christmas shopping
  • Start Christmas baking


  • Organize work filing cabinets on the slower days between Christmas and New Years

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2 Responses to The to-do list

  1. Brian Miller February 9, 2010 at 5:42 pm #

    Ah ha.
    Fellow Torontonian.
    The hard part isn’t making the list….its sticking to it.

  2. todd February 9, 2010 at 2:27 pm #

    I WISH I had had this list 30 years ago! And I’m 47!! LOL
    toronto, ontario

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