Lists are Helpful :-)

Lists are helpful. Don’t lose them ☺

In 1996 two escaped prisoners from Marble Valley, Vermont, were forced to abandon a stolen car when a police officer approached them. Inside was a very helpful list the forgetful fugitives wrote to help them remember what to do:

  • Drive to Maine
  • Get a safer place to stay
  • Buy guns
  • Get Marie
  • Get car
  • Do robbery
  • Go to New York

The prisoners were later picked up in Manhattan getting off a Maine-to-New-York bus.

–1,000 Unforgettable Senior Moments, Tom Friedman

Washing Dishes: Thich Nhat Hanh

“While washing the dishes one should only be washing the dishes,

which means that while washing the dishes one should be completely aware of the fact that one is washing the dishes.

…There are two ways to wash the dishes. The first is to wash the dishes in order to have clean dishes and the second is to wash the dishes in order to wash the dishes. …If while washing the dishes, we think only of the cup of tea that awaits us, thus hurrying to get the dishes out of the way as if they were a nuisance, then we are not “washing the dishes to wash the dishes.” What’s more, we are not alive during the time we are washing the dishes.

…If we can’t wash the dishes, the chances are we won’t be able to drink our tea either. While drinking the cup of tea, we will only be thinking of other things, barely aware of the cup in our hands. Thus we are sucked away into the future – and we are incapable of actually living one minute of life.”

The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation Thich Nhat Hanh

“The Next Physical Action”: Break Out of Churn-Paralysis

“What is “the very next physical action required to move the situation forward”?”

— David Allen, author of Getting Things Done

If you know your objective but are stuck churning over what to “do” next, break the mental paralysis via physical action.

From David Allen’s Getting Things Done site:
90+ % of the to do lists I’ve seen are incomplete inventories of still-unclear things. The Next Action definition (if you’re really getting down to having no ambiguity about the next visible physical activity required to move something forward), actually finishes the thinking you’ve implicitly agreed with yourself that you’ll do. “Mom ” is an unclarified to do item. But when “Mom ” is translated into “Celebrate Mom’s birthday with a party” as a project outcome, then “Call Sis about what we should do for Mom’s birthday ” is a clear next action. Because “Mom ” is vague, it still triggers stress when you look at it on a list. “Call Sis . . . ” triggers action and positive engagement.