List making.

I don’t make lists the way I used to. Many years ago I became a voracious list-maker. I attended lots of time management seminars and read lots of self-improvement books and was very much into being effecient and effective. It occurred to me last week that I no longer do very good job of making lists. I’m much more likely to scrawl something on a Post-It not. Or enter a new Task in Outlook. As a charter member of Anal-Retentives of America, I started wondering why. Here’s the best I could come up with:

For most of my 35 years as a working adult, I was responsible for “managing” others. Now, I’m pretty much responsible only for my own work. I can still appreciate the need for organizing and prioritizing my work but I just don’t seem to take the time make those nice, neat, numbered lists (with the A, B or C designations). It would be easy enough to check (15 years of Day-Timers in the upstairs closet) but I’ll bet most of those list items involved telling someone else to do something or checking to see if someone did what I told them to do. Only now, in retrospect, do I see how much I hated those little “nag lists.”

Maybe it’s like a bunch of people that all want to reach a common destination. They can get there much faster, and more comfortably, if they get on a bus. Everyone can shout out the best route but, in the end, only one person can drive. For some, the slave galley is a better analogy.

A few years ago I decided I didn’t want to drive the bus, even if it wasn’t headed in the direction I wanted to go. For now, I’m enjoying the ride… but I don’t mind walking.