As you may remember, I had a List yesterday. A Getting Things Done That Need To Be Done List.
As I was working my way through the list (with an occasional pause to see if I could get past Level 111 in Words on Tour), I thought about how not everyone works with lists. Being a list-oriented person, I don’t really understand that, but I can at least accept it as an alternate lifestyle choice.
Here are my rules for working with a list (especially if you don’t want to.
- Make a list. There are two schools of thought when it comes to list making (I’ve attended both schools). The first is to put as much detail as possible on the list so you get the joy (and by “joy” I mean endorphins) when you cross things off. For example: Instead of “make the bed,” you write “Go upstairs, stare at bed, pull up sheets, pull up comforter, arrange pillows” etc. That way even if you don’t get around to finishing you can at least cross off something that shows you made an attempt. Like going upstairs. The second school of thought is to put as little as possible on the list so it (the list) doesn’t glare at you all day. For example: Instead of “make the bed,” you write “Do house stuff.” That way, when you carry your breakfast dishes to the general vicinity of the sink, you can cross off the chore as done.
- Read the list. After years of careful study I can confidently report that having a list is insufficient. If you write and then ignore the list, things rarely get accomplished. (Unless you have better elves than I do.)
- Work on the list. Pick something, anything, and get it done. The first rule of list-making (yes, we talk about list-making) is that the list doesn’t always have to be completed in order. Sometimes it’s helpful (you generally have to get out of bed before you can make the bed) but most of the time flexibility is fine. You just have to get started.
- Cross things off the list. It’s very important that once you accomplish something on the list you cross it off. Partly because you get all those great endorphins and partly so that when someone else looks at your list they don’t nag you to get something done.
- It’s your list. You get to make up the rules. One of my rules is that sometimes it’s OK to cross things off even if they aren’t finished. I have two options. One is the “It’s Close Enough” option: I didn’t make the bed, but at least I picked the blanket up off the floor. Close enough for me. The other is the “Never Gonna Happen so Why Pretend” option: Seriously, I never make the bed unless grandma and grandpa are coming to visit and even then it’s iffy, so why did I even put it on the list?