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Structure.

So last night Earl and I got home from our ride (it took a full tank of gas for our “short ride”) and I promptly sat down at the computer and started writing some code. While we made our way down the darkened back roads, my mind wandered a little bit. This is a good thing.

One of the things I need to do to keep my life organized is maintain a ToDo list. I’ve tried several different programs over the years and have tried a different couple of approaches to maintaining a ToDo list and sometime last week I decided that I needed to Keep It Simple. I maintain my ToDo list in a flat text file that can be accessed by any computer or my iPhone. If I still had a tablet, I could get to it from there as well

The mechanics of my ToDo list are detailed on my geek blog. The reason I bring this is up here is because of the fact that I have to have a ToDo list to begin with.

As I get older, I find that I forget various things that I have to do. I can recite the name of every service area on the Thruway, in either direction, in order. I can tell you the SKU (inventory number) of a candy bar if purchased from the old department store chain, Ames, but I’ll be damned if I can remember the tasks I need to get done, especially when it comes to work stuff. I don’t know if it’s from the sheer volume of things that I need to do or some sort of disinterest in the whole ordeal (we’ll examine that at a later date), but the fact of the matter is, if I think of something, I need to write it down. Stat. Or else it’s going to be a long lost memory within 10 minutes.

Another reason for my ToDo list motivation. I need to have structure in my life. If I deviate from a routine (for example, the order of events in which I get ready to head for the office in the morning), it can end up in chaos. It makes me nervous. Structure is important to me, and achieving things that are done on a routine basis makes me feel better. For example, I have a couple of obvious “structure” based things on my electronic ToDo list:

Make the bed due:Daily +Structure
Shave due:daily +Structure
Find the humor in every situation due:Daily +Structure

The last one is courtesy of speaker Jeanne Robertson. She’s the humorist that was recently touted as “Grandma Goes Viral!”. Jeanne has been speaking at corporate gatherings and the like for years, telling very funny stories as a way to urge the audience to always find the humor in a situation. You’ll be much better for it if you do.

I need that reminder every day so I don’t get wrapped up in a negative frame of mind. It works well for me.

The other two on my list are purely structure things that help me stay on track for the day. I hate getting into an unmade bed at night. It’s not comfortable. It feels like an incomplete way to end the day. So the bed gets made every morning as soon as it’s empty and, barring any of the dozens of houseboys that pass through the doors of our house, I make the bed. I’ve done it for years. It’s the first sense of accomplishment I usually feel during the day and it’s a good way to get the day started on the right foot.

The task of “shave” every day is important to me. Shaving makes me feel good and “groomed”. I feel like I’m presenting my best look to the world when I’m cleaned up and ready to take on the events of the day. Even if I have a beard at the time, I still shave around it every day. This is my attempt to put my best face forward and it works. I think sticking to this has helped me with my recent weight loss. I feel better about myself and shaving and looking my best helps me want to feel even better about myself.

I’ve been focusing on this structured approach much more since my birthday in July and I feel that I am a better person for it. Now, this need for structure is definitely a part of my eccentric tendencies (which I think I’m going to start writing about more) but I think it’s a harmless need. It’s important that we all be who we are to the best of our ability.

And that’s exactly what I’m doing.

2 Comments

  1. I find the, er, older I get, the more I seem to need lists. I think maybe life is just to complex for some reason as I get older, so lists help me to remember the things I need to do, or want to do, or should do.

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