Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Every weekday morning I make a to-do list for work tasks, and every morning I make a to-do list for personal tasks.  On weekdays, I am lucky if I get to check off two of my work tasks; and I am extremely lucky if I manage to take a break and tackle any of my personal tasks.  On weekends, I usually complete three or four personal tasks each day.  As to week days, my job is driven by reaction.  While I am expected to do project-oriented work, I am also expected to drop everything to analyze a possible security incident.  My work days are never dull.

That said, I really don't want to talk about 'work'.   I want to talk about lists. 

Probably soon after I learned to write, I found myself making lists.  I think it's a sign of a low-grade OCD thing.  I like to organize things.  Which is actually quite humorous since I tend to make cluttery piles.  (I do that a lot less than I used to.)   I must have subconsciously decided to go with that whole organizing thing when I found myself going to graduate school to become a librarian.  I even worked my way through the program by cataloging books at the University of Pennsylvania.  I really liked assigning subject headings and call numbers to items.   Twisted, right?

At home, I typically organized my own growing book collection.   Non-fiction was grouped by topic.  Fiction was alphabetized by author.  My music, whether it be on vinyl, cassette or CD, was always organized by artist and then album title.  Eventually my movie collection was shelved by title.  And, lest we forget, my spices were typically alphabetized as well.

I don't do this with everything I own.  But, it does give me a wonderfully warm feeling to have certain collections of things organized by a discernible system of sorts.

Back to 'lists'.  Not only do I find myself making to-do lists.  There are the everyday grocery lists that everyone makes.  Then there are also the lists of places I want to visit before I die, household projects I want to work on, packing lists for various types of trips, books I want to read, playlists, groups of movies that would make great double/triple/quadruple features, and so on and so on. 

A few years ago I discovered this wonderful personal digital organizing tool called Evernote.  This tool is a list makers dream.  Not only can I keep track of all sorts of important pieces of digital data, in various subject-oriented notebooks, but I can organize all those lists that I like to make.  I use it for a bunch more things as well (saving web pages for future reference, scanning documents into it, etc.)  Highly recommended means of organizing your digital and digitized resources.

A few years ago I picked up a fun book that I like to randomly dive into every now and then.  to-do list by Sasha Cagen is a collection of lists with an introduction by the people who made them.  While it may not sound like much, there are some truly amusing lists in the collection.  Some examples include "Adult Movie Props", "Drinking and Running", "Sayings to Live By", and "To Start A New Church".

If the idea of that book amuses you, stick around.  I plan to start sharing lists of things that come to my mind from time to time.  Some will be totally mundane, some will be silly, and some will probably be grumpy or offensive.  Hey, we all have 'those' days, right?

"And so it goes." - Kurt Vonnegut

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