I do love a list. My current strategy is to use monthly, weekly and daily lists. These are divided into sections and follow an ever-evolving layout. For example, ‘People to Call’ was recently promoted up the page due to lack of progress in this area. A good list must keep you on your toes; get too comfortable with the format and you’ll start neglecting areas, assuming their contents. After a leisurely peruse over the ‘Tech to Do’ section (this covers digital/online/phone-related tasks) I want to reach the bottom and then... Wham! Ah yes, we’re out of bin bags.
Lists have to be handwritten. When I think of something to add, I make a note on my phone but will write it down at the first opportunity. Otherwise, how will I cross it off? The Backspace key cannot compete with the cathartic effect of a purposeful, conclusive pen movement. But a paper list can easily be lost and the thought of trying to remember as much as possible, knowing things will be forgotten (something important?) is just horrific. So I take photos of my lists as way of digital backup and peace of mind.
My dad has always been a list-man too. Once, during a busy Sunday afternoon of him getting-things-done, my auntie turned up unannounced. Dad was briefly flustered until he’d popped over to his notepad and written something down. My auntie Hillary, having spotted this, went to have a look and was aghast to discover her brother had just given her a fifteen-minute time slot alongside the words, “Chat to Hil”.
Does this list-writing result in me getting more things done? No. But at least I can be sure of what I haven’t.
“Write Listserve email”, about to be crossed off.