by mimi


I make lists. I make A LOT of lists. Recently a friend of mine gave me a book called “My Listography” which allows me to create an autobiography in one of my most comfortable formats (however, if you read the prior post, you will remember that I’m challenged by anything relating to “favorites” lists).

My lists are everywhere and I categorize them in the standard ways — work, home, personal — but sometimes a special category is created like Christmas or Birthday. The items included on my lists will include the mundane (laundry, clean bathroom), projects (organize office, refinance house, get clients), and goals (figure out excercise plan, make Raow a snuggly kitty). I fluctuate between paper and digital lists depending on the type and length of list, where I’m doing my work, and my motivation for finding the perfect digital solution. While I’ve experimented with maintaining lists in Evernote, specialized iPhone apps, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People documents, and my mother’s favorite — the palm of my hand — my most frequently used format is on a small piece of paper. I will use a medium-sized post-it, allowing me to adhere it to the side of my monitor where it constantly reminds me of what I must do. When I run out of room on the current list, I’ll create a new post-it with the new items and carry over those incomplete tasks from the prior list. It’s truly a cycle with items coming on and off the list. (And I must admit, if I feel particularly oppressed by a list, I’m not above to crumpling it up and throwing it out.) I’ll know it will be time to cash it in when I no longer can think of something to put next to an empty check box.

Walker and Larry are familiar with my lists because they may be found stuck to the bottom of their shoes (one reason I am working on a permanent migration to digital list management) but more often, they are subjected to the tasks. Larry gets the “honey do” list and Walker hopes the list requires a visit to TARGET.

This week Larry and I both created our own lists (I consider Larry a List Apprentice as he understands the necessity of them but he has not yet embraced the power of the checkbox). Larry chose a 4 x 6 index card for his list and he filled up the entire thing. We discussed the list a few times at dinner and he has mentioned his feeling of accomplishment with each completed item.

Yesterday morning, Walker made his very first To Do list — I’m so proud!. He wanted to outline his expectations for this weekend’s activities. You can see it above. He took great care to itemize his list and draw the task in comic format. (Can you get any more proof that he’s a perfect intersection of me and Larry?) If you aren’t conversant in four-and-a-half year old communication, here is the translation:

  1. Go to TARGET (image: the Target logo)
  2. Sneak Nick Fury into school (image: Nick Fury’s face, complete with eye patch)
  3. Conservatory of Flowers (image: the Conservatory with plants in front of it. The black building to the left is the bathroom.)
  4. Painting upstairs (image: the painting he will make)
  5. Web and Money (image: his 2 dollar bills that Grammie Shirley gives him for special occasions… The plan is to use his Spiderman web to steal money which I can only assume will be used for Task 1, going to Target.)
  6. Cake and present (image: the cake and present we will be taking to baby Otto’s birthday)
  7. Play-doh shapes (image: Walker at his table making different shapes)
  8. Parachute into the Lava Mountain (image: Walker  with his big huge parachute)
  9. Mix orange paint on palette (image: it’s hard to tell without time-elapsed video but he drew the palette, put different colors in each circle, and then mixed them all together)
  10. Jumpy house at street fair (image: a castle jumpy house complete with the slide to go in and out littered with shoes and socks)
  11. Cotton candy (image: cotton candy of course)
  12. St. Patrick’s Day (image: Walker wearing his green hat and necklace to celebrate the day)

And, as you can see in the picture below, we can check one item off the list.

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