“Be not simply good; be good for
something.” — Henry David Thoreau


This is great advice; but try not to be too much of a good for
something. There is a Greek Proverb that says, “The excess of virtue is a
vice.” Overdoing what you do is likely an example of such a vice. You just
don’t know when to quit. Sure, it makes you feel a bit superior; but as Ts’ai
Ken T’an advised, “Water which is too pure has no fish;” and that isn’t a good
thing. Even Abraham Lincoln said, “It has ever been my experience that folks
who have no vices, have very few virtues.” As you see, overdoing it definitely
has the potential for getting really unacceptable. Fortunately, George Orwell
understood the root of the matter, “On the whole, human beings want to be good,
but not too good, and not quite all the time;” so it’s OK to have one of those
to do lists so long as you don’t overdo it. Here’s how to manage the whole
thing.


Is work piling up and there’s just too much to do? Are you
getting frustrated with things backing up on you? Does your to-do list keep
getting longer with no end in sight? Would you stop and relax if you weren’t so
up-tight?


Does the daily rat race leave your head spinning? Is it
depressing to see that the damn rats are winning? Are you holding up the world
but feeling it slip? Is the balance in your life beginning to tip?


Did your future just flash before your eyes? Was it what you
expected or a total surprise? Either way you don’t need to see it twice. Put on
the brakes and consider this advice.


Grab that to-do list and a ballpoint with ink. Shortening the
list isn’t as hard as you think. Put a checkmark beside jobs actually belonging
to you. All other jobs can wait ‘til you’re through.


Look at your checkmarks and handle it this way. Put a + beside
tasks you can finish today. Rank the + items from more urgent to less. If it’s
hard to decide, quick take a guess.


Take your + list and cut it in half. Cut it in the middle and
don’t stop to laugh. What you have left is urgent so approach it this way. Just
buckle down and do today’s work today.