This week’s Discover challenge of The Poetry of List Making caught my attention.
Lists. They’re much like numbers. Whether we’re avid list-makers or not, like numbers they define much of everyday life. As we work towards a goal and define the steps along the way we are in fact list-making the process of how to get to attain our goal. Lists pin down the details and serve as a focal point from which to start and a place to return for re/direction. While I have never felt poetic while creating lists I confess any list makes me feel organised, like I know what I’m doing and how I’m going to go about it.
Maybe there is a poetic quality to how lists evolve. When my mind is filled with more tasks, impressions, images, and emotions than I can manage the only way to untangle it is to randomly brain dump everything onto a page. From there ideas can be grouped, prioritised or discarded. Lately I’ve noticed three very loose categories: things that must be done; those I intend to do and those that will never get done.
With study and work the most useful list is when I have to stop part way through a task yet want to be able to pick up and continue with as little delay as possible. I list what I have done, what needs to be done, where to find the resources and how much time I have already spent on the task. Once these are recorded my mind won’ be distracted by trying to remember where I’m up to. Logging the time I spend on each task keeps my neurotic tendencies in check. I log time with a nifty template called a spiraldex which I found some years ago.