So, this morning on the Purple Line, I spent my endless commute creating lists. Two, to start: this week’s grocery list and a Book List. The grocery list is overdue, as I have been trapped in the cycle of thinking “we need more xyz” and then promptly forgetting to order xyz for weeks now, but the book list is totally unnecessary. I don’t need to catalog my books or keep track of books I want to read some day or tally books I have read. Seriously. The whole endeavor is pointless.
Why do it then? For the pure joy of Organization. The result is only tenuously relevant, but the process is alarmingly pleasurable. Sorting, listing, getting granular with the data – it’s like chocolate mousse for the procrastinator’s soul. I can’t tell you how much I like it. Well, actually, I can:
Lots of little Post-Its! Romy, Michele, I don’t care who invented them; they bring me joy.
Here’s the thing – all these kinds of organization projects are like so much engine revving in Daytona; a lot of noise but no progress. You can’t tell me that part of the reason those GTD people love GTD so much isn’t because of the endless research you can do on methods and tools to help you GTD. Especially when “T” stands for “pointless tasks.”
Planning *how* you’re going to do something is exhilarating. It’s almost like being productive, but without all the effor. I love it. Loading PDFs into GoodReader so that I can carry hundreds of exhibits on my iPad at a time is awesome. Reading all of those exhibits and figuring out what to do with them – not quite as awesome. Tagging and highlighting my hundreds of exhibits in Adobe Acrobat Pro X – super. Researching the legal issues raised by those highlighted documents – less than super.
Still, the time I spend organizing is time spent passively absorbing the information that I’m not quite ready to absorb actively – and it counts, too. When I finally force myself to interview the witnesses, develop the theory of the case, and write the brief, I’m ready. All my tools are sharp and my tool chest is shiny. I’ve read and handled every document multiple times. I’m prepared to do the hard part.
Here’s what I have to say about the hard part – it’s hard. That’s why I procrastinate (that and I need a little pressure in order to concentrate). But the payoff is worth it. No matter how much fun I had prepping, it doesn’t compare with actually finishing the project and finishing it well.
I love a list, but I love crossing things off of it even more.
P.S. App used for new lists: Listomni.
P.P.S. Blog post squeaked in just under the wire!