I like to write lists.
I like to write lists and then re-write them and then separate them and combine them and put some on sticky notes and others in notebooks. It’s not about remembering what I need to do. When I need to remember something, I write it on my hand.
On sticky notes I write the things that I need to carry with me, thoughts that require focus and energy today, things I want to resolve before the sticky side gets fuzzy. Sometimes I have multiple lists : groceries, to do, work tasks, ideas for gifts, books to read. I stick them all to my smart phone (yes, I know there’s an app for that). When I leave the house I decide which ones stay on my desk and which ones get to go with me: which thoughts I am going carry out into the world with me and which ones I need to leave behind.
I buy most of my books for Kindle, so there’s no need to carry my “books to read” list. But it reminds me I should make some time for myself. I enjoy thinking about what might bring someone a smile, and carrying around a list of upcoming birthdays and celebrations brings me a smile.
I procrastinate by making lists. Instead of just tackling an item on the list I might re-write it in a different order – strategizing about the best way to go about my day rather than just going for it. I can’t stand it when one list is written in two different colours of pen. I can’t stand it when lists are written in pencil. Some people would call this OCD, but Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is real for some people so we shouldn’t make light of it.
I write lists in bound notebooks when they require longer term attention, some are ongoing and won’t ever reach “completed” status…they’ll just eventually not make it onto the next revision. I can’t bring myself to cross something off that isn’t done, to simply decide it doesn’t get to be on the list anymore. After all, it was there for a reason. Maybe I write another list called “things I might do someday, if I have time.”
My long list of things I must do is tormenting me right now. It has been for the past couple of months as I try to balance my move to London, changes in my role at work, and constant business travel. Right now I’m in Sweden but my head is in London and my heart is split between Toronto and California.
So today I put “write a blog post” on my list. And I’ll get to cross that one thing off and maybe I’ll get some sleep. Maybe I’ll put that list aside and focus on the lists I like to carry around with me.
Books to Read
- The Mountain Shadow by Gregory David Roberts
- Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
- Missoula by Jon Krakauer
- Fast Girl by Suzy Favor Hamilton
- Something by Oscar Wilde
- A true story about military history that even my stepfather hasn’t heard of
- “Welcome to the world” gifts for twins that will make their parents say, “of course that’s from their crazy aunt L”
- Something my mother doesn’t even know she needs for travelling, but won’t be able to live without
- Something my sister will love so much that she’ll try to make a DIY version for all of her friends