Saturday, October 24, 2009

To Do: Ta Da!

I love lists. I use them everywhere: to organize my day, to weigh out how I feel, to make goals, to rank shit. Hell, I'm using a list right now, in that very last sentence. Man, I do love lists!

I'm clearly not the only one who adores a little em-dash action: the writing team over at Cracked is hooked on lists, too. As is Columbus, from my current favourite movie, Zombieland. And Craig has a whole list of them. They're everywhere! Run! Run!

Does anyone else suspect that we're all just way too busy these days? I can cop to feeling overscheduled, that's for damn sure. But it's not just me: more and more of us are working two jobs, have multiple homes, volunteer, exercise, and need to track other people's schedules in addition to their own. It's nutty!

I'd harken back to the Good Ole Days, but I'm not entirely sure when those were. The 1930s? Sure, a nickel could get you a steamliner trip to Liverpool and a cup of coffee once you got there, but the whole damned country was unemployed. That's time-consuming. The 1950s? Because I love ironing and ugly houses so much? Even toys that are supposed to make life easier (the cell phone: ooh, so portable!) end up being annoying (like when your phone stops working after you drop it in a toilet). I would argue that the single greatest household, helping-hands style device to come out of the last hundred years is the vibrator.

Which is why I love the list. It's portable. The format is endlessly variable. I like to marry it to the index card (in a small, tasteful ceremony, of course), which is my favourite piece of office stationary. The List + Index Card formula often makes for excellence. I write down people's phone number and head out the door. I write down the title of a book and check it out later. I write down my to-do list and then I do it. I'm not attached to a book. If I'm feeling especially racy, I'll open up that little love match to a third partner - the Bulldog Clip - and create a little booklet. That's pretty advanced, though: don't try that one at home.

The moral of the story: we need lists. We love to organize our thoughts, and listing create priority. There's nothing better than looking at a to-do list at the end of the day, each item with a careful line through it. Well, maybe there's something better...but I'm going to have to utilize one of those handy little devices to get there.


  1. I nominate this post for: best use of the exclamation point in a Kaitlyn Kochany blog.
    Lists are also awesome for the nights that you lay in bed, pull 'er out to see what you accomplished that day and realize that you crossed off a lot, but it was all the easy stuff, and those hard things can wait.
    Buy toilet paper: check
    Go out for a coffee: check
    Pick up a newspaper: check
    Feed my cat: check
    Find a job: that can wait
    Apply to school: tomorrow
    make an awesome investment portfolio: who am I?

    and then those last few things get written on tomorrows list, repeat, until you get tired of writing them and eventually they just get ignored.
    .... I may or may not be looking at my own to-do list right now.
    Putting simple things on lists is an awesome way to feel accomplished: also, I love your index cards and have always been charmed and impressed when I see them.

  2. I totally have lists that say "find a job" on them. That never seems to get crossed off.