Checklists for Life
Back in January I browsed through Checklists for Life: 104 lists to help you…get organized, save time, and unclutter your life, by Lagatree. I found some of the lists themselves sort of useful, but decided a much better approach might be to demonstrate better ways to attack list-making as a learned skill.
I found the introduction and the conclusion very interesting, though.
p.xv “The world in made up of two kinds of people: those who write lists to make sure they take care of everything that needs to be done, and those who prefer to wing it….As the appeal of such adventure [winging it brings] wears thin many wing-it folks become converts to list-making. In fact there’s something about the human psyche that actually craves lists….
- Lists make us feel free, not because they help us remember things, but because they allow us to forget them.
- Lists help us face life with confidence [breaking tasks into manageable checkmarks]
- Satisfaction of checking of task provides gratification
p.xvi “Show me a constantly successful person and I’ll show you a list maker.”
Lists ensure that the job gets done correctly and completely – and with the added finesse that springs from an uncluttered mind…you’ll feel well prepared for anything life tosses your way and you’ll learn to relax in a manner you’ve never dreamed possible.
Ch 1. Personal safety
Ch 2. Getting organized
Ch 3. Stocking up
Ch 4. Home Maintenance
Ch 5. Housework and other emergencies
Ch 6. Flowers and plants, checklists for brown thumbs
Ch. 7 Social Life
Ch 8. Correspondence
Ch 9. Dealing with death
Ch 10. Children
Ch 11. Moving
Ch 12. Travel
Ch 13. Health
Ch 14. The Law
Ch 15. Your Money
Ch 16. Professional Life
Ch 17. Your Computer
Ch 18. Your Car
p291 “This book is meant as a starting point for getting organized, asking the right questions – and to getting into the habit of making your own lists….the chief duty of which is saving you from your own hectic schedule and forgetfulness…you’ll welcome the piece of mind that list making brings.”
The publication date of this book is November 30, 1999 and it looks like it predates Getting Things Done by Allen. The latter was published late 2002. Many of the comments in the introduction and conclusion were expanded upon in Allen’s book: not “Here are some lists,” but, “Here’s how to make a list and how to complete it.”
I am a list-maker. I really like using lists. Here, and I recall from Sorting Things Out, some comments about list-making as a fundamental human activity. I wonder if there’s a class of study you might call “listology” that explores the history of list-making and it’s technical, and social aspects, as well as the classification of types of lists ala Wurman in Information Anxiety 2 and LATCH (organizing by Location, Alphabet, Time, Category, and Hierarchy). It is probably wrapped up in the history of writing. Or maybe philology, I first read about in Sherman’s John Dee.
Ironically, I returned Checklists for Life three days late.