18 December 2010

creating order

This is my new coffee cup. About the only thing I love more then coffee is a good cup. Particularly white ones, something about the lovely contrast of drinking black coffee against a white cup that never stains gives me that little thrill. (Yes, I'm that easy to please.) I'm a coffee cup collector, its a little out of control but I can't help it. Particularly milk glass and vintage style ones - makes the coffee taste better (that's my story and I'm sticking to it).

I've had about three cups this morning so far because last night I felt an impending sense of doom and chaos. I couldn't quite figure out what my problem was, I'm used to running at full tilt with tons of things on the burner at one time. I pondered the reason.

Maybe its because its the holiday season and there's so much extra to do.

Maybe its because there is a full moon (not sure on that one, didn't check a lunar calendar but its been a good excuse in the past).

Maybe I've got too many projects going at once. (This one made me laugh - there's no such thing!)

Then it finally hit me why - NO LIST.

I live my life solemnly by the rules of THE LIST. It creates order, it tells me what to do, it keeps me humming right along toward deadlines with no worry of stress or chaos.

Somehow I had not updated THE LIST lately and it was making things seems kind of dark and foreboding around the edges. It meant I could possibly forget something important or stray off track or wander off on some path that had nothing to do with anything I mean to accomplish.

I see THE LIST as a kind of leash that keeps me on track. I imagine people look at me and say, "She's got it together. Didn't you know? She has THE LIST." They won't mess with me, even Murphy's Law fears THE LIST (and we all know the great affection he has for me).

It is my super power.

I am indestructible when I have THE LIST.

Its important to distinguish the rules for creating THE LIST. Some people think they are list makers but they aren't, they don't know the rules, they just haphazardly flail around with a pen and a piece of paper and think that their lists are the bomb but they're mistaken. Its an art. Rules must be observed in order for THE LIST to do its job properly.

1. Have a pretty notepad or board (dry erase or chalkboard) on which to write THE LIST. Consider it a form of dating, creating a sort of special relationship. You wouldn't show up for a first date wearing your pajamas with extreme bedhead, would you? Wooooo THE LIST.

2. Items such as laundry, grocery shopping and paying bills do not belong on THE LIST. They are futile, never completed and will only taunt you because they are never really completed. If you add them, you will avoid looking at THE LIST and you will be conquered. Instead, segregate them off into daily errand lists, or as I like to refer to them, "I Hate You Because You Are Never Done" lists.

3. Cross off completed items, don't erase them. Leaving them there with a big old line drawn through them shows how awesome you are at completing tasks on THE LIST. Plus erasing them makes you think you don't have much to do and this is dangerous. It can lead to excessive internet surfing and knitting.

4. Be bold. And confident. THE LIST can smell fear and it will not hesitate to crush you. You must respect THE LIST.

5. Understand that THE LIST is here to help you. Don't give it dirty looks or threaten to run it through the washing machine with the laundry. Growling at THE LIST is also ineffective and will serve no other purpose then to put you behind schedule.

6. THE LIST has comrades that you will want to become familiar with. These range according to your personality type but can include: coffee, vodka, hysterical laughter and trash cans.

7. Some lists are portable and others are not. Portable lists are for the "I Hate You Because You Are Never Done" tasks (see point 2) and stationary lists (like the one in my studio) are attached to the wall so that when you realize the deadline is only two days away, you will have something to hang on to as you slide to the floor sobbing.

8. Get THE LIST a calendar. This is crucial. Not having a healthy sense of how many days away a deadline actually is is like setting your list on fire and laughing with glee while you do it. Also keep in mind that when you are creating things (particularly by hand), a deadline that is seven days away is equivalent to about fifteen minutes. Work ahead.

9. Update THE LIST regularly. (This is the most difficult and one that I struggle with regularly.) There comes a point when you just need to create a new list, with updated priorities and new goals. Don't fear this process, it is not the same as piling more work onto your schedule. THE LIST is your schedule. Don't fight it, it will only cause pain.

Now that I have an updated LIST in my studio, I feel like I can conquer anything. In fact, because I have the list, I am working on item #1 today (and no, its not blogging but it is blogging related so I feel that I am in the correct ballpark and will get to work on obliterating #1 from THE LIST as soon as I hit "publish" on this post).

Me and THE LIST. THE LIST and me.

There's no stopping me now! Muahahahahahah!


Leann said...

Here's the question. If you do something and go to cross it off your list, only to find you hadn't written on the list, do you write it down so you can cross it off?

Claudine Intner said...

Not to rock your world but have you considered using an online to do list like http://www.toodledo.com/ or http://www.rememberthemilk.com/ You can sync them with a smart phone and also print them out.

Hope you have a nice holiday!

Vicki W said...

I'm with you. I can't accomplish anything without my list!

Kathy said...

I believe in The List...I believe in The List...I believe in The List....I do, I do, I do!!!!

Linda Teddlie Minton said...

Soooo funny! Loved your article about The List!