List Paralysis

This morning I made a to-do list. Then, I sat there with it for a long time. Just feeling completely overwhelmed. I made the list fairly short, knowing that it would be impossible to do everything that needs doing today. So, I made a reasonable list of things that would make life easier in our house during the next week.

Still, the list paralyzed me. It just felt like a terrible way to spend a Sunday; cleaning and working and buying things like trash bags. I would much rather read something by Ursula K. Le Guin and nap.

How many times have you heard someone say something like “I wish I could quit smoking” or “lose weight” or any number of other things people want/need/should do? My first reaction is thinking, “Well, just do it. If you want to quit smoking, stop putting cigarettes in your mouth.” For some, they need that muscle movement, which is why getting a premium e liquid and a vape could help, but the point still stands.

Now, you might be thinking that I’ve never had to quit smoking so don’t know how hard it really is, but I have quit smoking. More than once. I think the most useful tool I used was a vape. Sites like helped me find suitable cartridges so my mind would think I was having a cigarette when really I was limiting my nicotine intake. However, each time I would stay quit for about two years, then take up the habit again always telling myself I would just have to find a new way to give up. And it worked. In fact, I even lost 60 pounds the last time I quit smoking.

Personally, I found that switching to an rt4200 digital classic vape pipe made the transition process much easier. There is a lot of research out there to suggest that vaping is a healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes and therefore if you are trying to give up cigarettes, it is well worth considering switching to vaping until you are ready to give up nicotine for good. Plus, nowadays, you can even get e-liquids that are infused with THC if you are a cannabis user.

The last time I quit was four years ago, and this time, I think it will be permanent. I have gained 50 pounds, so now have a different goal. I really wish I could lose some weight. Somebody (a thin person) at work one day said, “It’s easy to lose weight,” and I thought “Obviously you’ve never had to lose weight.” But that person was right. If you want to lose weight all you have to do is eat well and exercise.

Why is it so hard to do the simple things that will help us reach the most important goals? Why did an easy, useful to-do list paralyze me? How do you overcome that resistance to just jumping in and doing what will help make life better? And, is it possible to be too efficient and organize? Will you miss out on opportunities for joy and spontaneity by becoming a slave to your list?

One of my favorite posts on is one titled The Lazy Manifesto: Do Less. Then, Do Even Less. Maybe the key to reaching all of those goals is to choose to work on only the very most important things. Make the list as simple as possible, enjoy working on it, then take a nap.

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