Sometimes to-do lists have a function. It's true that most of the time they just mock you silently for falling behind with their endless tyrannical demands, but sometimes — just sometimes — they are a source of satisfaction. This morning, I had 15 items on my to-do list (anything over 10 makes me hyperventilate), and they were all reasonably non-trivial and urgent things. This evening, I have 7Â½. The bonus is that it happened on a Friday, so that I can go into the weekend with a profound feeling of Zen calm with my productive day behind me.
Ticking check-box on the list is pretty satisfying by itself, but what I'd really like is some kind of automatic reinforcement system. My computer could dispense a yummy square of dark chocolate for each completed item, or better still, I could get my lateral hypothalamus (the âpleasure center' zapped wirelessly to give me a little bolt of happiness. The result would be a operantly-conditioned response to completing tasks — ideal! Alternatively, I would just cheat and tick the box anyway to get the hit, which — let's face it — is the much more likely scenario.