It’s a scary word.

We all like to live a structured life. Things happen when they are meant to. We make a ‘to do’ list. For work as well as for personal life. The list could have two things to do or ten, but we make the list. It could be on a piece of paper, digital or in our heads. Ticking off things as they get done.

It starts from an early age. The school time table for each day. And it becomes a habit.

We start to live by the list. Everything is done according to the list. Even during the down time, we are thinking about the things that we need to get done.

When we go to bed at night, we think about all that was accomplished from the list. We feel good about getting everything done and then think about things that need to be done next day.

A structured life is considered successful. Have read a lot of self help stuff on how important it is to make a list – for a day, for a month, for a year and even for your entire life! Structure is what sets us humans apart from other animals.

Work to be done. Bills to be paid. Things to be bought… endless.

Hence ‘unfinished’ is a scary word. If there is a task that is left unfinished, it gnaws at our mind. Sits there poking our brain that we need to finish the task. We need the closure. It is unsettling. We worry that people will brand us as procrastinator.

But I want to question this premise. Are we becoming so driven by the ‘to do’ that our entire thinking is governed by that list? I know of a few who are so focused that their mind probably short circuits if they have to think of something that’s not on the list! Linearity must be maintained. Is there ever a winding down that happens? Where we just let go and not think about things to do. Our weekends also are a list of things to do. Even our holidays!! Why??

In my entire working life, I have never made a ‘to do’ list. Well actually I tried it a few times and it just didn’t work. While am not a model of the so called successful people, I think I have turned out alright. Unfinished for me doesn’t mean am not doing it, unfinished for me means that the particular task needs time to finish in the most productive way rather than it being a process and strcuture. It makes my mind run unfettered and be creative. It makes me act on impulse and get excited over little things. It keeps me connected to the child in me. Conventionality and predictablity are so boring. Working towards a defined outcome makes the mind focus only on that particular outcome.

We were given the power of thinking, not to put a structure to it but to think in a freewheeling style.

Think about it. Most startling discoveries have happened when the mind was not thinking a structure or a format. Pursuing a predictable outcome makes us rats or monkeys in a controlled environment of a large lab called society and work culture.

Coming back to unfinished. Yes there is work to be done and if I was a list driven person, I would not have had time to post this. 🙂

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