Friday, June 15, 2012

White Boards, To-Do Lists, And Stickies! Oh My! ...

I have got to get a grip.

Is it a sign of aging that I keep making more and more lists?

Wait. Don't answer that.

But I need to build a better list method.

I have a whiteboard in my office. That's good. I keep longer-term stuff on that surface and take great pleasure in swiping entries off. Though I've never been very good at writing on a vertical surface. How do you teachers do it?

I have a clipboard on which I keep clipped a notepad, like a legal pad but shorter and white, and I like jotting lists on there with a pencil. I'm a big fan of pencils, especially when they're a bit dull. I like the weight of the strokes they make, the softness of the lines, a little blurry, if you will.

I have a stack of sticky notes that has dwindled from its former glory as a cube, but it has served me well for a long time. I've stuck a lot of stickies in a lot of books and gone on to write blog posts that were more ambitious in my head. I ended up passing over a lot of stickies, but the thoughts were important to me at the time.

I have a reporter's notebook that I like for its flippability, forward and back. I jot a lot of stuff in there, but then I clip it – with one of my beloved binder clips – onto the clipboard that contains the notepad, and that seems a bit silly, to jot notes on two different surfaces but keep them together.

I have a sheaf of scratch paper that I reach for whenever I'm at my desk. Each is half of an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet, divided horizontally into a rectangle that I then use vertically for grocery lists, mostly. Those get folded into thirds to stash in my wallet.

I have index cards in my wallet, because Anne Lamott thinks everyone should carry at least one index card and some form of writing implement with themselves wherever they go, and she's right: The index cards have come in handy on many occasions. I keep a running list of books I want to read jotted on colored index cards in my wallet. (My library, turns out, does not contain much of what I want to read.)

See what I mean?!

Who needs to jot down this much information?! And why is it all over the place? I think about getting a notebook and making that my clearinghouse, but knowing me, it would probably become another place for note-taking, not the replacement for all the others.

Maybe it's a female thing. Are women more prone to list-making than men? Do we have more to juggle and need a place to write it all down now, lest we forget it all later?

I have finally learned to jot notes to myself when something pops into my mind. Gone are the days of "Oh, I'll remember that later." I do not. I don't remember the one thing I specifically go into a grocery store for if it's not on my list. The cashiers aren't surprised when they see me walk in a second time. There is something about the act of walking across the parking lot to my car that makes me remember.

How do you keep track of your life?

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