At the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, also called the Nerd Prom, President Obama finally caught up. He’s tuned into an idea I blogged about several years ago. It’s so handy for combating stress. I want to thank him for giving me an excuse to talk about the benefits of this useful tool: the “F*** It” List.
The F*** It List is a thing of beauty. It’s the opposite of a Bucket List, and on it you put all the things you’ve been planning to do but now realize you probably won’t and that’s okay. For example, on my list is learning to play the piano or speak Spanish. Although both would be nice, they are never gonna happen. F*** it.
Here’s another example: I was cleaning out my inbox, and I had all these marketing ideas I was planning to try. But they were a monkey on my back; the pile kept growing in inverse proportion to the possibility of me ever trying one. Remembering my new philosophy, I wadded ’em up and tossed them in the trash. Could’ve sworn my shoulder muscles loosened up right then. Almost as good as a massage.
Another example: I’d been trying to finish Imagine by Jonah Lehrer. Don’t remember why exactly – it was so tedious I doubted my local library would even want it as a donation. I kept feeling like I had to read the rest of it, but I had so many other books waiting, and all that life to live. One day I walked past it, remembered my new philosophy, and tossed that sucker, with my notes, right into the recycling.
Man, that felt good! Better even than finishing the actual book!
A really neat aspect of this list is that it frees you from the pressure you – insight! – put on yourself.
You learn to let things go. You don’t even have to put them on the list. Once you get in the habit, adding things to the list will become second nature. You might even stop before you add them to your to-do list in the first place.
- Clothing in your closet you’re hoping to fit into one day? Eff It!
- Recipes to try in a neat stack by the phone? Eff It!
- Magazines stacking up under your coffee table so you can check them one last time before being absolutely sure you’re not missing anything? You know what to do!
I’m clowning around here, but there’s a deeper theme going on: you don’t have to do everything. Some of the pressure we feel is self-imposed. If we stop and think about it, the tasks we add to our To-Do list might not really be mandatory. Switch it over to your Eff It list and feel happy, powerful, and free. Kinda like Obama on 1/21/16.