OmniFocus is both my favorite tool and my worst enemy, because it ensures that I do the things I need to get done, but it also provides a seemingly-endless supply of anxiety.
I generally don’t remember so good, so I need to write down things that need to get done. At some point years ago, I read Getting Things Done and started using a rough approximation of that system. OmniFocus has been my software of choice for years, and everything I need to do goes in there.
The problem is that everything I could need to do goes in there. It’s full of blog post ideas, half-baked plans for projects, and things that would have been a lot more useful years ago when they first went on the list. For example: collect together information about all my insurance policies and retirement accounts and what have you, so that it’s easy to find and deal with if I get hit by a bus. That would still be useful to have around now, but it would have been a lot more useful back when I was married, and someone would actually need that information if something happened.
So now I’ve got a task management app that’s full of tasks that I don’t really want to do. Some of them are things I need to do, but a great many of them are things that I once wanted to do, or simply feel like I should do, for one reason or another. The reality, though, is that I don’t want to do most of it, so I find myself feeling guilty for failing to get stuff done, or spending a weekend (like this one) relaxing and taking some time for myself instead of getting something—anything—accomplished, whether it’s worth accomplishing or not. At times, I’ve even felt bad for spending time out with friends, or spending an hour or two on the phone, because I felt that I should instead be getting something done—I mean, my todo list has all sorts of things on it, so clearly there’s important work to be done, right?
It’s stupid. This is not helping me be more productive, it’s just making me feel guilty for living my life. In the past year or so, I’ve finally come to terms with that fact, and have started to feel a lot better about ignoring various things on the todo list. I say “ignoring” because they’re still there: I feel guilty just dropping these projects. That is a foolish thing for which one could feel guilt, but I’m working on it.