Lists are amazing tools

Lists are amazing tools when we use them, that is.

I have been a very big fan of the to-do list for as long as I can remember. And when I was working at my recently-abandoned-day-job, I lived by mine. Imagine if I hadn' long would I have lasted with all the varied requests coming in from every department and then some? And when I "came home to work," I continued with that pattern, and this worked very nicely for me.

Confession time: I have recently become quite slack in my use of the to-do list. And I've got to change that right away. My way, though, before handling a problem is to get to the root of it. (Some would call this an additional procrastination technique. Okay then. Fine. Let the procrastination begin!)

I'm thinking it's got to do with a couple of differe things. First of all, when I have a list of several clients and several "outside projects," I'm usually much better at getting out my planner. This week I've been primarily working "in house," which means I largely have to answer to me. I frankly have so many things that need to be accomplished, I'm just happy when some of them do reach completion. I'm not necessarily as concerned about which happens first. Perhaps that's why I haven't been writing the projects down as religiously.

I thought I had another good theory but it doesn't seem to rear its head here and so I'm gonna' move on to shaking myself up a bit. OH! Halfway into the other paragraph, I remembered. Shall backtrack and write it here. The other reason I think these lists have gone unwritten is that I have so many other lists. Master lists, if you will, and they're looming. If I write yet another list in my calendar each day, they become daunting. Thing is, these aren't the same kinds of lists. First, when I starting planning to change my career, I got out a big, honkin' sketchpad. Needed room to roam. And so I wrote a two-column list entitled "income streams." Which gave me a great deal of pleasure, you might not be surprised to know. I continue to develop lists along the way, that are spinoffs from that original one:

  • Lists of items I need to make from clay (bowls, mugs, bottles, business card holders, lidded jars, pendants, plates - for myself first...I've been waiting forever, and etc.
  • Lists of people who've expressed an interest in acquiring something I make, "whenever you have the time." Earrings, pottery, necklaces...
  • Lists of people who have expressed an interest in discussing web development projects with me at a later date...when they have their ducks in a row. Best to keep them near the top of the list and work intuitively on information you have and call them at the right time.
  • List of decorating projects I've been putting off in lieu of organizing my office and starting a home-based business. Just so I don't forget: I need curtains. Painting. Nearly-finished-art projects intended or this or that wall...

Lecture time: Melody, my dear, you need a system. Organize that master list of lists, then get back on the dailies. Your master lists don't mean anything if you're neglecting the short lists. You, for example, have a contact you didn't follow up on.  If you'd continued with your habit of making the to-do lists, you would have at least begun a dialogue with this friend of a client who may or may not be ready to start on his site's revision. Now, as it is, you may not get the client. Handle that today.

And on and on it goes. Soon as I post this I'm getting my book out. Promise.