Until the past few years, I was a huge proponent of ToDo lists. Things changed a when I became a software engineer. My ToDo list became tickets/cards in whatever project management software my team at the time was using. I seldom had need for any other system of figuring out what to do next. I’d create ad-hoc lists here and there for multi-step projects, but gone were the days of the master Todo–the dashboard of life.

For some reason, after I stopped keeping a running ToDo list, I convinced myself that it was a crutch, something that Type A people used to add more stress to life. Instead, I subscribed to a more “holistic” mindset, one in which I only did the things I remembered. I reasoned that if something was important, I’d remember it. Surprisingly, this worked reasonably well. The things I’d remember to do would be done eventually and the world didn’t come crashing down around me.

Not knowing what to do next is a luxury. It means life is simple enough that there aren’t any crucial dependencies that need immediate attention. My life isn’t like that, I’m not convinced that anyone’s is. The reason the world didn’t come crashing down is because my wife was bearing the brunt of responsibility and shielding me from my obligations. Plus I was artificially making my life more simple by wasting most of my free time and letting things pile up. I let the panic monster take over from there.