Creative Process

Lady Muck’s List

I write great lists:  To Do, Errands, To Email, To Call.  A well-crafted list can be beautiful.  My problem is that I treat the list as the finished product.  If it sits there long enough I begin to resent it.

And I don’t even want to tell you how caught up I can become in deciding whether to ex off, check off, or cross out and if I should use highlighters or colored pens to prioritize.

As much as I love planners, list writing, and making notes etc., and given how good I am at organizing ‘things’, I am really quite terrible at managing my time and accomplishing tasks, especially anything free-floating, ie without deadlines and only important to me.  I despair of this every day.  I don’t know how to begin.

In college I would copy over my class and reading notes, highlight and bookmark reading assignments, and stack everything up tidily on my desk.  And then go for a walk.  I’m not kidding.  It’s as though my only responsibility is to set up the task.  Then, apparently, my work here is done.  Like Lady Muck I wave my hand – holding a list – go forth and make it so.

Something is missing in me, I’m telling you.  I really cannot relate to the utilization and management of time.  I have a subconscious lack of faith in the human ability to create structure and effect change in the huge unknown territory that is time.  I always think, “But will that happen?  How do you know?”  There are so many unknowns.  What if you call everyone on your To Call list and no one answers?  Does that count?  Can you check/ex/cross it off?  See?  Or if you can’t check/ex/cross it off, you just lost half an hour accomplishing nothing.  Half an hour you can never get back.  Time is laughing at you.  Right now.

It is possible to make it all way too complicated.  You can have too many lists and you should never, ever have more than one calendar.  I have lists there, and a calendar here, and then I don’t like that calendar so I get a different one, which changes nothing.  And somehow my calendar never meets my list.  I never can figure out which thing on the list to do now and when to stop that and start the next thing.

When I do choose a task from my list and finish it, I am surprised, as though it had nothing to do with me.  When I have plans with a friend and I get ready and get there and she is there, too, it surprises me in the same way.  It feels as though it had nothing to do with me.  Time, to me, is not reliable.  Time is not something you can count on.

It’s okay you can say, “That’s really weird.”  I know.

So in a Tweet from Lifehacker I found a link to Bullet Journal and thought I would give it a try.  I recommend watching the video first as it explains it best.  The Bullet Journal system is just that, a system.  It is not a finished, perfect list, it is a work in progress, always.  I want so much to trust that it will work.  And it seems so simple, right?

Not to me.  I think it is telling that when I read the web page (twice!) I was very confused and kept saying out loud, “I don’t get this, I just don’t get it.”  There was nothing tangible I could grasp.  I really did not begin to conceptualize it until I read it four times.  And then I still felt like, “Well, yeah, but how are the things actually done?”  Maybe a time management system should come with drones.  Lady Muck, waving her list…

This has to be called something, but I don’t know what.  Nuts, I think, would be the colloquial term.

But I am stoked to give Bullet Journal a try.  I set up a wide ruled hardback compo book 📓 (love those) as a bullet journal and when I look at it, I am hopeful and emotional.  Help is at hand.  I begin to believe.  I really feel like getting stuff done.

© Margaret Grant and magoffleash, 2012-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


5 responses to ‘Lady Muck’s List

  1. You are funny and so much a writer…if you write it, it is done! I keep a notebook like that but not nearly so organized. I should probably put in a bullet for “turn off the computer now and then.” I am sure I could accomplish much more that way.

  2. Okay, my sister-from-another-mother. I love this!! I am crazy for planners, daybooks, journals, Moleskines- I adore making lists, having blank pages to fill with important things, projects, plans. And my college notes were visions to behold. But yes, I’m only so-so on the accomplishment part. That really seems beside the point.🙂

    I must check out Bullet Journal! I’ll add it to my to-do list.

    • Ha! This made me say, Awww, right back at ya. After writing this and reading the comments I see how all this is about is that we are writers! We want to write, to get the words down and see them. We are not procrastinators, we are WRITERS!

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