Always something more to do
There is a famous expression: “There is always something more to do.” Typically this expression is intended as an argument to take more time for yourself, for what you love to do, etc., because there is always going to be some unpleasant task to do. However, I have learned to use this expression with myself for an entirely different purpose.
Whenever I find myself in a situation where I am impatient and waiting on something, I tell myself, “There’s always something more to do,” and then I start finding other productive things I can work on. For example, I can look at my calendar and task list to see if there is anything I can work on using the tools I currently have at my disposal (even if it’s just my iPhone). I can also look at my “Things to do if time” task list (see Removing items from your task list), and try to work on one of those items.
Another example: One time I was waiting at our car in the loading dock of our apartment while Linds was going to find a basket in the apartment building to haul some groceries. At first, I didn’t think there was anything else I could do but sit there, but I was feeling impatient and wanted to do something active, so I started looking for stuff to do, and soon I realized that the groceries and the trunk containing the groceries needed more organizing than I had initially thought. As a result, by the time Linds had returned, I had made significant progress organizing the groceries and cleaning and organizing the trunk.
Another example: About a week ago I was forced to wait for a second dryer to open up in our apartment’s laundry facility. As a result, when I took the first load of laundry out of the first dryer, I had about 3 or 4 minutes until the second dryer finished. Instead of going up to the apartment with the first load, coming right back down for the second load (doing two trips instead of one as I would normally do, and not accomplishing any more than I normally would), I decided to start folding laundry there in the laundry room while I waited. You may think, “Duh Corwin, that’s the obvious thing to do. I do that all the time.” Well, that wasn’t my normal routine, and thus it was outside my normal mode of thinking. This was a novel approach for me, and I thought of it because I told myself, “There’s always something else to do.” If you employ this expression for yourself, you may find solutions that may be obvious for others, but new and great time savers for yourself.
Time efficiency, not more on your task list
While this article may seem at first to run contrary to the article I wrote suggesting that you take items OFF your task list, it is more about being efficient with your time and getting stuff done that you normally would not get done than adding more stuff to your task list. By taking this approach, you will likely find that it is much easier and more enjoyable to get a lot done, as opposed to slogging through a huge list of tasks that may or may not fit well together. Even if the only actions you take when you say “There’s always something more to do” are cleaning and organizing, you will be amazed how much easier it is to have a clean and organized home/car/office/etc.
If you ever find that you are bored, this is the perfect expression for you. You may think, “If I am bored and can’t think of anything to do, and tell myself that there is always something to do, how does that help me find something to do?” Boredom is a peculiar state of mind. In most scenarios it is the result of the mind rejecting most available tasks because it finds them unpleasant upon first inspection, and not because it can’t think of anything to do. However, this happens on an unconscious level, so that it seems to your conscious mind that there is just nothing to do. If you remember the expression, “there is always something more to do,” you allow your mind to escape the self-blinding effect of boredom.
The next time you find yourself waiting impatiently, try this expression on yourself. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at the results. And feel free to share below.