A list is not a plan

January 2, 2012

I am a list maker. For many reasons, I make lists, and I could do the obvious here, and make a list of reasons why I make lists, but I will skip that, as it is too obvious, and it is not really what I am talking about right now.

What’s important is that the other morning I made my list of things to do that day, and along about 2 p.m. when I felt myself a little aimless even in the midst of a chore, I realized, “Oh. A list is not a plan.”

I realized that although I had a nice, explicit list of things to do that day, I hadn’t made any sense of them, and I was spending a lot of time wandering about pondering what to do next and, most distressingly, I was getting distracted.

Okay. I am making up this next part, by way of illustration, but it could be true–that I had this simple epiphany when I found myself re-organizing under the kitchen sink, when I was supposed to be inclined toward preparing for my road trip. That’s when it came to me that although the dust bunnies and cleaning supplies did need some attention (so the chore was invisibly, inherently on the ToDo List), doing so that moment was going to impinge on completing the real tasks at hand.

A list is not a plan.

A simple thought, and perhaps something that other people don’t need to articulate because they just know it. And truly, it is something that I have already learned, but not in these clear words.

A list is not a plan.

And now, to turn some focus to my burgeoning list for 2012, and shape it into a plan.


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