Monday, August 13, 2007

List skills strategies

A friend and I were discussing list strategies this morning, as we both know the importance a good list has in life - it can make or break your day, in fact.

I have spoken in the past about my habit of making the first entry "Write List" so something can be ticked off immediately.

The best thing about a list is its ability to streamline and keep the procrastination and side-track meanderings minimised (most of the time).

One of our household big list items was to hang a whiteboard so that we could take our listing seriously. But I am not sure about the whiteboard - it is great at reminding you of what needs to be done, but it just doesn't cut the mustard for that feeling of accomplishment that a paper list does in a day...

A good list must be portable, achievable and (for me, I know there are other techniques) heavy on the check boxes.

Well, our discussion on the minutae of lists this morning brought up some other important list skills...

If you write things on a To Do list that you have already done in a day, can it be considered cheating? We don't think so, as it is technically still something accomplished and that needed doing. Discuss.

If a job is really, really big (e.g. washing for the household for the week) can you break it into smaller tasks (i.e. sort the wash, by load, pegging, folding, putting away) and also have a larger box for the whole caboodle?

If you achieve monumental tasks in the day or days past, should you list it just to get that "ticked off" feeling? We coined the phrase "living in past lists" to cover this one. Discuss.

If you do end up sidetracked to learn life skills needed to expand your horizons and build better future lists, can you write that to your To Do list or is it classified procrastination? An alternative to this possibility is to create a new list of sidetracks contemplated life skills. Sort of "choose-your-own-endings" lists. What do you think? Why?

BTW - the write blog box of my list was at the bottom, but have moved it forward 5 places as inspiration (and IM conversations) struck now. Do you think you should be allowed to disorder your own list?

It did gazump tax, super, shower, list mailouts and pegging - I am not meant to shower for another 2 (darn really long hair and really cool nights - gotta move my shower to accommodate climatic conditions) but may just get really crazy about this disorder stuff - once you break that rule you are up the proverbial...


Tracey said...

I have been exploring the list thing lately, with some magnetic whiteboards that go on my fridge. While I like the idea of being able to see things crossed or ticked off, I am getting some satisfaction from wiping off something that has been done.

I'm also playing around with these 'jobs' white boards - magnetic, but removable, for the girls. Under a week of use, but I'm finding if I write the job I want them to do, they are getting into the idea of doing the job so they can 'wipe their slate clean' so to speak. I'll let you know how it goes.... I am about to really make it complicated by writing up a list of jobs for them to choose from on another board.

Meanwhile, today, for example, I couldn't even remember to take my shopping list to town with me. It's the blind leading the blind around here....


Could it be that while you attempt to define your list and figuring out all the nuances, that the day has disappeared and a list no longer matters?

Major things, like when to pay bills I put on the calendar on my fridge.
What to get at the grocery store goes on scrap paper.
Household chores just have to take their changes according to my mood.

jeanie said...


Sounds like a system and a half in your house! I don't like what I have done wiped off - I wish the sense of accomplishment - but I like the whiteboard for those biggies.

Elizabeth - my house is generally taking such chances!