A Little Bit Western


Note to Self

Feb 15, 2016

I am one of those people who enjoys a good list. Sometimes I lean a wee bit towards a Type A personality, and I organize and file and use notes to support my tendencies. I feel like a thorough to-do list helps me stay on track, and the odd time I even complete something on those numerous scraps of paper. In theory, at least.

I gained an appreciation for The List as a child when I would watch my mom make her list then cross each task off as she completed them. She always got a lot done and her system seemed effective, so I guess I can blame my love for The List on her.

I have a variety of lists including daily to-do lists, short-term lists, long-term lists, ranch lists, project management lists, people-to-call lists, and more. If it’s anything from goals to groceries, you can bet I have them noted on a sticky note tucked away somewhere. These sticky notes cause much grief for my dear Other Half. I feel as though my system works just fine, but I suspect he doubts its usefulness when I’m searching for the right little orange piece of paper for a specific important detail. He even once bought me a notebook, I think to sort of reign in my sticky note dependency. I’m not so sure where that book is now, but I currently have no less than thirteen scratch pads within inches of my computer. I just counted them.

I must admit that lists have gotten me in trouble a time or two. During an elementary school group project once, my classmates and I had a long list of tasks to complete so we decided to split them up. Naturally, I made a list of tasks for each of us Grade 5 kids to accomplish which didn’t sit very well with some of the adults. It turned out I should have kept my lists to myself.

I have a few favourite list types, including my ongoing gift list. I keep track of ideas for presents for my family and friends and add to it throughout the year, subtracting as I gift them. Another list preference is the list-within-the-list concept, where I prioritize “need to do” vs. “nice to do” in tidy little columns. I’m sure there are many a household with a Honey Do list, but mine flew out the window about nine years ago.

Probably my most beloved list, and arguably the most important one, is the list I’m working on right now…the calving list. For every calf that’s born, we note it’s birth date, weight, gender, colour, and who their mom and dad are. We keep track of all of this data and information in a magnificent oracle known as a calving book. It is such an important little booklet that, because I like lists and what-not, I actually make a duplicate book. A “his” and “hers” calving book, if you will. The chance that a singular calving book could get misplaced, or tumble out of a shirt pocket and into a cow pie, or spontaneously combust is just a risk that I’m not prepared to take.

Before we started calving, my six-year-old made his own list of veterinary supplies he thought we would need to have on hand. He can’t spell all of the words yet so he made a graphical list that was fairly detailed. A veterinarian later sent me a supply list that he sends to his clients prior to calving. I think other than a few items (and a few less pictures on the grown-up version) the lists were pretty similar. A good list will not be limited by age or literacy level.

Thinking and planning about doing something sometimes gets in the way of actually doing something, so there needs to be a happy medium. A list for the sake of a list is pretty redundant, and I need to remind myself of that every so often.

Maybe you make a list and maybe you don’t, but I can’t imagine my life without one. Long live The List.

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