The completion of big to-do lists is not making anybody happy, a study has revealed. According to new research, a typical office worker will retain a chronic feeling of anxiety, despite having just completed a multitude of separate actions. After ticking off the final item, a fleeting period of joyful relief is followed by a haunting premonition that an even larger to-do list awaits. Scientists propose that making lists should be supplanted by a haphazard and unsystematic approach, completely based on whim.
“I was looking forward to a cup of tea and a digestive,” said 31 year-old solicitor Sarah Brown, after finishing her 18 point checklist. “But as I walked towards the office kitchen I felt an overwhelming sense of dread, a fear so acute that I hurried back to my desk, and began documenting exactly what I needed to do tomorrow.”
Later that week, Sarah was found lying prostrate by the photocopier, banging both hands on the ground, because the machine had broken down again. “Why me?” she cried. “I have so much left to do on my list. When is this going to end?”
“When you’re dead,” a colleague replied nonchalantly. “Have you finished that report?”