One of my weekly rituals occurs on
evening when I sit down to plan my
coming week. This usually involves a
notepad with one list for business and
another for personal activities. It's a
classic To Do List.
I've been thinking of renaming it,
however, since Ken Robert mentioned on
Facebook that he calls his I Promise To
Myself List. On the same day he posted
that, Steven Pressfield wrote about
Henry Miller's Eleven
Commandments. This list is more
about work commitments than it is about
things needing to be done.
As Pressfield pointed out, "His
commandments would work equally well for
a diet, training for a triathlon,
starting a new business or planning to
invade (or decamp from)
Afghanistan." Here's what
Work on one thing at a time until
Start no more new books, add no new
material to Black Spring.
Don't be nervous. Work calmly,
joyously, recklessly on whatever is
Work according to Program and not
according to mood. Stop at the
When you can't create you can work.
Cement a little every day, rather
than add new fertilizers.
Keep human! See people, go places,
drink if you feel like it.
Don't be a draught-horse! Work with
Discard the Program when you feel
like it-but go back to it the next
day. Concentrate. Narrow down.
Forget the books you want to write.
Think only of the book you are
Write first and always. Painting,
music, friends, cinema, all these
Do a Google search on Effective List
making and you'll find thousands of
articles and blogs like Penelope Loves
Lists to help you organize your
activities. They all seem to echo
the old proverb, "Faintest ink is better
than brightest memory."
It seems to me, however, that too many
such lists are monuments to drudgery and
dreaded tasks. While nobody is immune
from some of these activities, it also
makes sense to include lists in a
journal or a digital file that inspire,
challenge and delight.
Here's a list I made of Ten Ways
to Take Care of the Boss.
Make friends with people who like
Learn what is and what is not
controllable in my life.
Explore the world. Keep expanding
all personal boundaries.
Learn something new-often.
Learn to ask for what I want.
Always have an exciting plan under
Don't do everything at the same time
Hang out with happy, successful
Be a masterful problem solver.
Give people a break.
As useful as lists can be for keeping us
on track, they also can be a handy
business tool. Tip sheets, focused lists
of good ideas, have all sorts of uses in
promoting both products and services in
a friendly way.
Go ahead and create your own little
lists of big ideas and put them to
work for you. As Doris Saatchi
pointed out, "Pure space filled
with thoughts, rather than things,
is good for the soul."