Lists – Do, Doing, Doh

A funny thing happened to me on the way to write yesterday’s blog post….

Hey, wait a minute – isn’t that how humorous stories start?

It sure is – but unless you want to classify what happened as black comedy I’m not sure it is humorous at all.   I certainly don’t feel like laughing, not even in a ‘ha-ha, that’s ironic’ kind of way.  I have my serious face on – the one with the three lines etched above my eyebrows.  It’s my ‘what the heck happened’ face.

You see, I knew I had a blog post to write yesterday.  It was the fifth item on my “Six Things List”, right under ‘one hour of editing’ and right above ‘find query letter examples’.  Yes, it’s still there and the list is dated April 22nd – which was yesterday.  Now, come to think of it, ‘one hour of editing’ wasn’t done either.  Looking over the list, I see that only two of the six items are checked off.  The others are not even in ‘doing’ phase.

Well, I could fill the page with everything that happened between writing the list and waking up this morning and realizing I’d forgotten but nothing monumental happened.  After the first two items were done and checked off I started doing things I knew needed to be done, I just hadn’t listed them yet.  I looked for projects to bid on, checked my work email, answered some enquiries, had lunch, went to my Golf Clinic, made dinner and so on.  I did check Facebook – which technically doesn’t NEED to be done – but it’s always fun to see what friends and family are up to.

It is also not a case of avoidance.  I was excited about scheduling time to write, because I’m finally getting back into my routine.

So what is the ‘not-funny’ thing that happened?  What the heck actually happened?

I forgot.  The fact that I urged my group members to post on time this week and I forgot about my own post is not funny at all, it’s actually embarrassing.

But despite the not-funny aspect I think I’ve learned a valuable lesson about time management here, one that is worth sharing.

Here it is:  If my list had included everything I knew needed to be done, I would have checked these items off – and I would have seen “blog post” and I would have remembered to do it.  So, if you are a list person – put everything on the list.  Don’t limit yourself to “six things” or “important things” just because you read somewhere that ‘this is how you make lists’.  Write it all down.  If it has a deadline, put the deadline right there next to it.  If it’s important, star it.  Keep the list somewhere central, maybe even in electronic format.  Mark the items off as they are completed.  Add more items as needed.  If the list gets too messy, then delete it and write a new list with just the ongoing and new items on it.

And rename the list from “To Do” to “Doing” because it’s a work in progress.  Just like life.


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