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the power of lists


Growing up, my parents had a metal two-drawer file cabinet in their bedroom closet. In addition to the usual types of files, they had a file for each child, labeled by name that had a bunch of different things in it like report cards, old school work, diplomas, etc. As a kid I used to snoop through each of our files, careful to put everything back just where I found it.

Once I found a traffic accident report for my oldest sister and misunderstood what I was reading. I thought it said someone was killed in the traffic accident she had, but a while later I realized it had categories and what I actually read was "people killed: 0". Until I understood that, I felt like I knew a crazy secret about her.

About a year ago my dad gave me the hanging file with my name on it. It had the stuff my parents deemed important, but it also had one of my lists in it. It was on the back of a business envelope, written in big loopy handwriting (I was in college) of things to pack for school.

I should explain my love affair with making lists. As a teen I would use the back of an envelope, a scrap of paper, whatever was handy, to make my lists. They consisted of the usual items: things I wanted to accomplish that day, stuff to pack for an overnight trip, homework I needed to do, etc.

All of my adult life I have been a list maker. I don't know if everyone makes lists, but I consider it part of my genetic make up. I like to draw a small square then write the item next to it. When I complete the item I put a check mark inside the small box and I know that task has been completed. It provides me with a sense of accomplishment and it makes me feel grounded. It gives me a plan for the day and I can organize the chaos that is in front of me.

After college I worked in Corporate America for ten years and was never without my FranklinCovey Planner. I loved that thing. I had the classic size (5x7) leather case with a zipper and a strap so I could sling it over my shoulder like a purse. By the end of my corporate career, FranklinCovey had come out with a clear page finder that had pressed flowers inside. Yeah, I owned two of them.

So then I quit my job to stay home full time with my first daughter and I retired my beloved planner inside a dresser drawer. Once in a while I pulled it out to retrieve a phone number, but for the most part it lived in the dresser. It was then that I reverted back to my origins and wrote my lists on errant scraps of paper.

For the last year or so my scrap of choice is yesterday's page-a-day cat calendar discard. I write my list on the back of the page, so I feel like I am getting double duty out of the calendar. However, our six-year-old is into ripping the pages off each day and I have to keep close track where she puts the discard.

So imagine my excitement when my ever-thoughtful husband bought me an abridged, wire-bound, week-at-a-glance FranklinCovey planner for Christmas! I can now put my appointments, my kids' appointments and my enchanted lists all in one place! I have always loved my lists, but the affair has been renewed and the fire of passion glows even brighter now.

The chaos has been harnessed into a wire-bound sheet of paper, lined to create order but brightly colored to allow for whimsy.


Another overdue thanks: I'm sending an extra 1000 strides on the elliptical trainer to supermom3604 who added me as a favorite a while ago. Thanks Supermom!


2007-01-17 at 6:47 a.m.

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