I can’t pinpoint exactly when I started working with to-do lists – it must have coincided with the time when life got really busy, at the end of my undergrad just when I was about to move to Europe to start my Master’s degree. Then by the time my PhD journey began, there was no turning back: I had become a list-making-machine. Big and small tasks, complex ones and easier ones, emails to reply to, errands to run, questions to ask, feedback to give – it all got jotted down, patiently and meticulously, as if I was rummaging through my head with a butterfly net, catching each thought to bring it onto paper, in order to free up some space in that snowglobe of mine. I thought of them as my lifeline – my best tool for keeping organized and on top of things. With my trusty lists, I would not forget. I would have a system. A plan. I would feel a sense of pride with every checkmark, as well as a sense of anguish upon realization that the checked-unchecked ratio always remained unchanged (because we all know that with every item we check off, we also think of at least one more to add to the list).
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