Sunday, September 04, 2011

Writing lists

I have a lot of lists on the go lately – and while lists can be very helpful in organizing and ordering things, if it gets to the point where you need lists to keep track of your lists, then things have gone a little too crazy.

For example, right now I have different work lists for my different jobs – and competing priorities between them. I have a list of home renos and another home list of basic home maintenance (wash floors, clean sunroom, etc.). There’s the list of things we need for Miya’s first day of day care, a list of groceries on the fridge, a list of tasks I’ve let slip.

I have lists of books on-hold at the library and books waiting to be read here at home, mental lists of knitting projects...

I don’t know how old I was when I first started using lists to keep track of things or motivate myself – but I know it’s been a very long time. There is something very satisfying about crossing something off a list. And when the tasks ahead of me seem monumental, it helps to break things down into do-able parts that I can check off as I go.

When I was in university, a lot of the things on my to-do list we’re so easy to check of (like studying for an exam) so I’d divide the tasks into time increments. After 45-mins or an hour of studying, I could put a check on my list for that task and take a break.

Sometimes lists help me prioritize and I just work my way down. But my preferred way of tackling a list is to add in a bit of randomness. I will write out everything I need to get done, then divide the list in half and flip a coin, and I keep dividing and flipping till I end up with something I have to do. If I’m not particularly rushed or hard-pressed to finish anything, I will add a few fun things to the list so that the chances of landing on ‘go for a walk’ or ‘knit’ are just as good as ‘clean the bathroom’ or ‘finish report’.

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