Making A List, Checking It Twice

Photo courtesy of getbetterhq.com

Photo courtesy of getbetterhq.com

  1. Make a list
  2. Clean kitchen
  3. Change cat box
  4. Take out trash
  5. Write blog post

I’m a list guy. That’s one thing that 49 years and eight months in this world has taught me.

I work much better off a list. If I’m list-less, well, then I’m listless and stuff doesn’t get done.

If I go to the grocery store, I need a list. When I go into work on Sundays, the first thing I do is make a list as I juggle my manager-based duties with my reporting-slash-photography-slash-do-everything-else duties. Back in the days when I was a married man the request for the then-wife was simple: Make a list.

A list gets done.

Without a list, all the stuff that needs to get done waits for me to make a list. Then, and only then, does it get done.

I think I first noticed this list thing — truly embraced it, at least — when I was, as an adult, first floating through a world without order.

Rather than working the typical 9-to-5 job (Or, in my case the 4-p.m. to 12 a.m. beat) might life was suddenly force-fed a change, and I found myself working shift work and juggling other duties as I tried to pull my life back together.

Making a list every day was sort of like climbing a ladder, helping me to get through each and every day. Every item checked off the list was another rung higher.

I carried that list-full feeling through my days in New Hampshire, as well, during my time where I was primarily working as a freelancer writer, whoring myself out to anybody who would pay me, where work could happen any day, any time.

I felt productive back then and nothing was getting missed.

Since moving to Connecticut, though, I’ve fallen back into a general routine that is the same every day in spite of its differences.

I wake up, walk to the deli for my morning coffee and bacon, egg and cheese sandwich.  As I eat and drink, I click my way through a variety of online newspapers and websites … The Bangor Daily News, The Portland Press Herald, The Connecticut Post and Hartford Courant, CNN, ESPN … just to get caught up with the world. Then Facebook and Twitter to get the most up-to-date, if not always accurate news.

Then I remotely pop into my computer at work and prepare for the day. I might start tomorrow’s sports section, or deal with e-mail that needs my attention.

Then there is a space of time that’s empty … where stuff should get done, but rarely does.

Unless I make a list.

When I make a list, I’m more productive. Period.

Sigmund Freud once said if we forget, it’s because we don’t want to remember.

And a do-list buried in the mind — at least my mind — is quite easy to forget. At least that’s what I’ve noticed.

So from time to time when things pile up to the point where I can’t ignore them anymore, I make a list.

I should do it every day. I want to do it every day. But I don’t.

Today, I’ve got a list to get to.

At least with this posting, I can knock off one of them.

Now it’s time to get started on the rest.

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