I write two types of lists, the long list and the short list


I write two types of lists, the long list and the short list. 

The long list runs at the back of my notebook.  It is quite close to the perfect list.  Each item is numbered sequentially so that you only have to do the first thing on the list once.  The handwriting is always neat and fits on one line.  Each line is carefully crossed out with, ideally, a slightly thicker nib than the one used for writing the list.  The aim is a texture akin to braille, page after page of heavily drawn lines on top of spidery writing.

The other main characteristic of the long list is that it will certainly have an item reminding me to write a different type of list.

The only danger of the long list is when those, not specific enough and improving tasks, creep on to the list.  These tend to be of the type that reads ‘read art review digital’ or ‘photo shop those photos Danny took last summer and add to website.’  Once these occur, the meditative joy of turning back the pages of a completed list will almost certainly be spoilt by glaring un-scored lines. 

I could of course cross this out and pretend it was done.  But actually I couldn’t.

That’s when the short list comes into its own, albeit a shorter, less aesthetically pleasing list.  These are often written on post-it notes, and stuck on the front of my diary, but there is a practical side to the short list, things have more chance of getting done, and this chance is improved more when it’s timed.

The first day of the month has brought out the puritan side of me – things will get done and in aid of that, this is my short list for Monday 1st June 2009.

5am Wake up to get to prison by 8am
Yawning but tick.

1pm Go to National to fill in materials order sheet

2pm – 6pm Studio
Tick-ish.  I spent most of the time sleepily gazing over the top of the Metro Sudoku at my work and so, predictably feeling slightly guilty and also knowing I could go home, I got a sudden bolt of energy at 5.15. Left studio at 7

7pm Blog
I didn’t know yesterday that my evening would have to include a shower as the week of 5am starts was all the cold water I needed or that at some point of the evening I would like to cook dinner and eat it and to do that I would have to detour to Sainsburys to buy weekly food. I did have a list for that.

8pm Watch some TV and get an early night.
11.25. Posted Blog

There’s also the list that I wrote of every last thing in my bedroom, which I stuck into spikes in the floor.  But that’s a whole different type of list, although it too, was beautifully neat.