Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Do Lists Make Life Simpler?

I used to work with someone who, when asked what his plans for the weekend were would respond with a list-yes- every minute of his weekend was planned out and each item was listed in the order it was to be accomplished, including the fun stuff. Even though I have met many more people that like lists I think he might be the most dedicated yet.

A business manager I once worked with was known as the ‘checklist’ manager; as long as each item on his list was checked off he considered the project successful, whether or not it really was. The checklist prevailed.

I have made the odd list now and again although they usually end up in the recycling bin long before any of the items get checked off-the lack of spontaneity in lists doesn’t fit too well with my personality. Yet, I have never missed a deadline in my life-ever; and I don’t forget to do things no matter how much stuff is floating around in my non-list brain. I have a feeling that Terry Small ( could provide some insight to why that is but for me just knowing it works is good enough. I will make lists for other people if they let me know that is what they need from me, other than that my lists tend to be incomplete and rarely revisited.

As some of you know I have been doing volunteer work only for the past few years but have now decided that I miss getting paid (more than I thought I would) and have decided to get back into consulting on a fee/project basis. When I first came to this conclusion back in January there was the question of what, when, how, who; but the only ideas that were coming up were met with a strong resistance that I could not identify. So, off I went in search of answers, talking to trusted friends, reading whatever I could get my hands on etc. And you know what I kept encountering? Lists- yes, lists of what I should do to figure things out and some of those lists emphatically stated that I needed to make lists. No wonder it has taken me six months to figure it all out. But it is figured out and not a list in sight.

So, what works for you? Do you use lists to guide you through life or does spontaneity work better for you?

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