There’s a habit – some may call it an obsession – of writing down notes and then crossing them off once they’ve been fulfilled. Maybe these people, those who keep so many lists, think they will forget things. Maybe it’s the sheer satisfaction of checking off a completed task. Or maybe, like me, these people just really like buying cute notepads. And what is the logic behind buying more of these adorable papers if you don’t already use the ones you have? Then it’s just paper hoarding, a serious fire hazard.
Each day before I start work, I consult my computer list to make a physical list of what needs to be done. (If you think this sounds repetitive, you’re wrong.) They don’t mirror one another exactly; maybe my paper list says I need to stop by the bank while the electronic version reads “errands”. Sometimes I even switch today’s work for tomorrow, separating the two versions considerably. (I’m not a total kook; the lists can be different, so long as they exist.) Then, as I work through each respective set of notes, they either get marked through like this, or receive a different color of font. The harder the job, the more pleasing the color. That is my reward for completing each task. That and getting paid.
The problem (there’s always an issue here at EoG), comes not with these day to day notes – I am effectively reminded of work duties – but with the long term notes. There is an inevitable list of items that will never get done, mostly because its tasks are impossible. Such as “change this key to a forward delete on my laptop”. My logic is sound. I never need a forward slash and I always need to delete from both directions; I’m just not sure changing the keys can be accomplished. “Organize notebooks” is another tall order as they are constantly getting moved and switched out of any order. Then finally, there are items such as “laundry,” which needs written just as often as it gets crossed off. Leaving it be seemed the more efficient option.
Yet another note-taking hazard comes from my sheer desire to amuse myself. When leaving a hand-written note, I inevitably think of a clever saying or abbreviation. Buy sunglasses becomes “buy SGs,” then by the time I make it to the store I don’t know if I’m in the market for sunglasses, shot guns, or trying to bribe a member of the Sales Group Scandinavia Corporation.
Word docs are even worse. If I write an impromptu blog, I might save it as “lawyers suck” or “aren’t you glad you didn’t intern,” leaving it to be forever lost in the depths of my hard drive. Weeks or even days later, I can no longer crack the code. Not only is my self-to-self joke not amusing, it keeps me from finding necessary info. Sure I could read though each of the hundreds of docs until I found what I was looking for, but my document opening history would never look the same, causing a whole new set of problems. And yet I keep doing it. Perhaps I should add “remember you aren’t funny” to the list of long-term tasks, a note that requires no encryption whatsoever.