• Eric Dahl

Why Make a List?

I’m not certain at what age I started creating lists but I’m certain I was fairly young. It might have been a list of toys or things to do when I got home, but lists have become a part of my DNA. I remember my dad would always carry a small notepad in his shirt or pants pocket and make lists of tools or supplies he needed for the house or vehicles. My Grandpa Dahl was the same and constantly kept notes on new ideas or inventions he wanted to create. At work, I use post-it notes or recycled paper for my daily list of things I want to accomplish. Thankfully with the advent of smartphones we can keep our lists with us in the note section and actually dictate them on to the page. I maintain To Do Lists, Guitar Wish Lists, Articles to write list, Blog Blog Blog idea list, Repair lists, song lists, Sell This List, Holiday Gift Lists, Writer Pay Lists, List of Wines we liked, Taylor Songs list, Birthday Gifts for my wife list and Songs for Oran list. Thankfully I have not gotten to the point where I have a list of my lists because that would kind of push things over the edge. The challenge that I face, especially at work, is that if I don’t write something down on a list I get distracted and forget it needs to be accomplished. Much like the dog in the movie “Up” – squirrel! As I’m sure it is the same with all of us, our To Do List (or Lists) can change in priority depending upon what our boss or immediate supervisors require us to accomplished. My items to achieve may remain the same but the numbers of prioritization will change on the left-hand side to reflect the bosses requests. All of us are multitasking between our regular work, e-mail, phone, meetings, webinars and having true mindful face to face discussion with our co-workers. The same is true of family matters where my daughter and wife have their schedules for school, cheerleading, volleyball, drama, rescue animals, church and bunko. My schedule revolves around work stuff, radio shows, church meetings and writing with the occasional haircut and music store mixed in for good measure. Combining these lists together from different sources is like joining two Rubix Cubes and trying to make sense of it all. But, without these schedules and lists I wouldn’t be able to see my daughter’s performances or attend her volleyball games and that doesn’t work for me. A lengthy list of To Do Things can be intimidating and almost overwhelming. I do find comfort and satisfaction when I am able to mark items off my list and move on to the next project. At some point, I’m always forced to scrap and throw away the old marked up list and begin a new clean one to get things in focus again. I wonder if prehistoric man made lists on his cave walls of when it was time to kill the bison, pick berries, feed the fire with wood or dress warmer for the Ice Age? Teachers have always used lists to manage what we students are to accomplish by the next class time. For me I believe that my lists are a method of trying to bring order to chaos. Without some type of list, it would be impossible to maintain all the deadlines and objectives that must be hit on specific days and times. Maybe the creation and manipulation of the list gives me the illusion that I am in control of some of these things in my life and that I am making progress? Although somedays it does not feel that way. Whether you are a maker of lists or not it would seem that some form of organization benefits us all otherwise we are randomly doing things and forgetting others in the process. When I have had staffers that have come to me in the past and asked if they should take a new position or move for another job I always tell them to make a list of Pros and Cons before making the leap. Once they do that on a piece of paper review both columns thoroughly and the answer will reveal itself to you. This process has worked for me with my career over the years. Here is hoping that you can easily dispatch everything that is currently on your list of to dos. And be sure to include a few distractions that you enjoy on that list too!

Coffee is always necessary when making a List!