Originally the Task List started out as an exercise in self preservation for all of us, a tool to demonstrate what we were actually doing and the work load we bore. As things came up, the intent was to grade them as to priority and type, then add them to the list. The hope, as I recall, was to give a tool to others to explain precisely what it was we did and how understaffed we were.
The original purpose of the tool has been cast aside (we got too busy) but I have patiently continued to maintain my own list as a testament to what I am doing and (hopefully) use it to justify my existence at the end of the year.
As I go through the list, what I find is that so many of the tasks on it were listed as "critical" or "Hot-Hot-Hot!" at the time they were initiated. Timelines which were critically dependent on one thing; turnaround times that "made the difference" to the client; things which simply "must be done": all now are little "complete" line items on the list.
The reality? Most of these made little or no difference, and the effort and time put in were swiftly forgotten once the task was completed. People "move on" with staggering rapidity, leaving efforts and time cast aside. In the end, we are as often judged by what people remember about us as much as it is what we have done for them.
Part of my heart cries out as I review the list every week that this is a sad commentary on my life: tasks marked "complete" on a list that, in five years, will probably not matter.
That old disconnect again: the reality of life versus the need to make an impact and difference through my work. How do I reconcile these?
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