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do you write lists? i'm researching material for a book and would love to hear from any list-makers out there.

my book explores the role lists play in our lives - how they help us manage and organise the chaos of life, how they can provide structure and meaning in seemingly everyday tasks, and the amazing stories behind often discarded objects. If you are a list-maker, or definitely a non-list-maker I'd love to hear from you.


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  • Jun 24 2012: I used to be more list oriented and may return to it, thanks to your query.

    I have three anecdotes. I recall a writer speaking of the habits of the successful saying that they often made their to-do list at night. This way the subconscious mind could sort them a bit for importance and even create a solution to one or two. Thus, the list would look different in the morning.

    The second comes from the early days of business consulting, the 1920's or 30's. So a roomful of executives from, say, General Motors are asked to make a list of their ten most important tasks or duties, a prioritized list. The consultant then had them cut their paper list between the third and fourth task, telling them, "Work solely on these three. Delegate the rest." I take from this that we tend to do the easier things and avoid the difficult.

    The most recent comes from a book on medical care in hospitals. Many people die in hospitals, a large number due to ineptitude. The well educated and trained professionals make mistakes, due to fatigue or oversight or whatever. There are studies on this. One solution: make a list of the five most important steps in any procedure. Medical science is complex but the five mistakes in each part of hospital care that kill the most people are known.

    Oh! Don't forget, "I'm making a list, checkin' it twice, gonna find out who's . . . "

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