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I’m obsessed with to-do lists! August 2, 2011

Posted by pacejmiller in Blogging, Misc, On Writing.
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Source: whoisbolaji.com

I have become an obsessive maker of to-do lists.  I can’t seem to do anything unless it has been written down in a list.  Then I’ll revise that list, compile a new list, combine existing lists, rewrite the list and type it up in various formats (I recently discovered several iPad apps that can organise your entire life into lists, complete with priority rankings and reminder alarms!).  Anything but actually do the things on the list.

Well, that’s not entirely true.  I do eventually complete things on the list, but I don’t think I’ve ever completed every item on a single list (before carrying over unfinished items into a new list), and certainly never within the entirely unreasonable time constraints I’ve set myself.

But darn it, I like lists.  I compile them because I have a tragic memory and I freak out when I can’t keep track of all the things I need to do.  When I have a list in front of me I feel like my life is in control and everything will be okay.  A good list for me is halfway there.

I think it started years ago at work when I truly needed them to keep track of the zillions of things that needed to be done, usually into the wee hours of the morning.  I would scribble the tasks down on a yellow legal pad in the order of urgency, and work through them methodically, one by one.  I think I must have gotten hooked on the sense of accomplishment I got whenever I ticked an item off the list.

Nowadays, every task is listable.  Finishing writing my book(s) is one item that appears on every list and gets carried over every time.  Finishing reading a particular book is another.  Getting an article published is another.  But smaller, day-to-day things are making the lists as well.  Sending an email.  Making a phone call.  Even exercising, taking my vitamins — these are all listable now.  And I love ticking them off.  That’s two down and fifty more to go, I tell myself, proud of the fact that I’ve gotten the ball rolling.

What’s next?  Showering?  Brushing my teeth?  Maybe.  But first I need to tick this post off the list.

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Comments»

1. Ashford Daniel - August 2, 2011

From the second paragraph I take it that you will soon need a list to remind you to check the to do lists…….
Time management is a disciplined adventure but can become ineffective when the urgent is substituted for the important.

2. theveryhungrybookworm - August 4, 2011

haha, when I write up a to-do list, I needing to write up a to-do list so I have something to cross off immediately…

3. Bill Chance - August 8, 2011

I knew my list making was getting out of control when I found myself making a list of the lists I needed to complete.

Have you ever looked at the Pomodoro Technique for getting your lists accomplished? It isn’t working out completely for me (I am having trouble dealing with interruptions) but sometimes it works great. I wrote a blog entry about it here:
http://billchance.org/2011/08/02/the-idea-pomodoro/


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