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Living with lists

Those people who are nearest and dearest to me know that I am very partial to a well-kept list; indeed, my longest-standing friend worries about me if my list-making is not in evidence.

So, I always have lists for work, home and leisure. Long term lists are stored in leather organiser, but daily and weekly ones go onto an ordinary A4 pad. One of my favourite list stores is a rather hefty planner for my allotment. These lists expand into plans and notes of crop rotations, and include photos and sketches of vegetable successes.

Every day, I have a list of jobs which must be done. Some days, this is invigorating and exciting – real challenges to tick off. Other days the list just seems too much. Too many things, too many demands, too little time. On those days, little additional notes and squiggles are added to try to make the process easier. But, at least I know the priorities and in which direction I am heading.

For non-list makers, this may seem constrictive and rigid. And there are times when it works against me. The writing of this blog, for example, has been transferred from one list to another for weeks. No matter how many asterisks and giant arrows, plus exclamation marks I have added have helped it become a reality. Life has just been too hectic, and rather than focus what I have got done, failing to write the blog on time has weighed heavily on my mind.

But on balance – and that’s what it’s all about really – living with lists makes the daily juggle of priorities easier.

If you are new to lists, here are a few tips to get going:

  • Find a way of developing your lists in your way – not everyone uses a notepad and pen as I do. Work with what you like.
  • If you don’t manage to achieve everything in that day or week, don’t lose those tasks. Carry them over to the next day or week.
  • Be realistic. Allow the right amount of time for each job.
  • If you have something that really challenges you, get it down on the list. Somehow, just writing the job down is the start of tackling it.

If you are a list maker, please do get in touch and share your tips!

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