Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Question

To-do or not-to-do, that is the question. Or at least the subject of today's rambling.

I recently suscribed to Real Simple magazine. I had bought one at the store, loved it, and ended up buying a suscription from a friend's son, they were selling suscriptions as a fundraiser.

Anyway, I received the new one yesterday, the official Jan 09 issue. I was anxiously waiting to see what new ideas I could incorporate into my not-really-simple life. This issue actually centered around to-do lists.

I used to keep to-do lists, that's how I survived engineering schools. There were design reports, lab reports, homeworks, tests, more reports that needed to be turned in on time. I had to keep a list so I would know what needed to get done next. As my life became more hectic, my lists got longer and longer until they were no longer manageable. I stopped making them.

I can get things done without one, and my life would be less hectic if I kept a list, but they just don't work for me. I've taken time management classes that praise list making as the best thing ever invented. I just cannot keep one. That's not to say I don't have lists. I keep lists of projects, reports that need to be reviewed, these are "master" lists, not daily lists.

I attended the "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" seminar back in July and loved the whole thing. I even tried to apply the habits to my life and was doing really well until I went on vacation. You can't plan your days while on vacation. Habit 3 is First Things First. All about prioritizing and making lists, and deciding what should come first. It all sounds great, unfortunately once my priority list is set, I will very likely get a phone call from the boss, telling me a new project has moved up to the top of the list, and the list will no longer be valid. Back to square one.

I love the end of the year, not only because Christmas is my favorite holiday, but because the end of the year is near. All those things I promised myself I would do at the beginning of the year, that list of "resolutions" , I can toss it all away and start fresh once January 1 rolls around.

So, rather than trying to plan the rest of the year, I've decided to give the whole planning/prioritizing/to-do list another try after the holidays. If nothing else, this can be part of the whole "New Year resolution" list. After all, I may need something to "toss away" by this time next year.