There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who make lists, and those who rely on those who make lists. You know who you are.
List makers fall into the following categories, ranging from abnormal (#1) to completely, irrevocably OCD (#4).
- Those Who Use Post-its. Hastily scrawled and all over your house (or all over your cube at work), these scraps of paper are proof that you’re trying your best. You score high on the “writing it down” part (mostly), you just have no idea where the post it is. And even when you find the post it, you can only squint and wonder what “Craigslist Bully” means.
- Those Who Use Apps. If anyone disagrees with your claim that using this app has “completely saved your life,” you offer to fight them, immediately. You say things like, “I cannot imagine life without (insert name of app).” It’s your precious.
- Pinterest. I still do not use, embrace, or even understand Pinterest, except that it’s the way that women plan weddings, especially those who are already married or those who have no fiancée.
- Those who use Three Ring Binders & Label Makers. Your three ring binder has categories and sub categories, and would be the first thing you grab in the event that your house was burning down. Before your kids. Some of you have a shelf full of three ring binders, labeled and alphabetized (Christmas Decorating Ideas, Disney Trip, Egg Recipes, Friday). Some of you have plastic bins in the basement with more three ring binders inside of them, and they’re all labeled, using a Label Maker. If you have a box with a Label Maker inside of it, and that box is labeled “Label Maker,” please seek help, immediately. If you also have a travel Label Maker that you keep in your car (just in case), stop reading this post and apologize to your spouse immediately. Shhh. Just go.
I will tell you right now that I am a list maker. I will not tell you which category I fall into, except to say that Evernote has changed my life forever, and I would forget the names of my children without it. But I would never make a three ring binder with categories and sub categories, because I’m sure that’s exactly what Jeffrey Dahmer did.
But last week, a question barged into my brain, unannounced, without the help of lists of any variety: Do I tend to my relationships the way I tend to my lists?
And then I got quiet and reflective (but not complexful). More questions came. Why do I spend more time making sure my tasks get done than I do nurturing my relationships? Why don’t I spend more time with Kyle? Why do I hate answering my phone? Then a ludicrous idea formed, which morphed into ridiculous, and it landed on sublime.
What if I made new Evernote Notebooks according to the names of my favorite people? Then when I was with those people, I could notice things: They like IPAs. Their favorite Starbucks drink is a Grande Vanilla Latte with extra whip. They strongly dislike the color mauve. Then I would slyly add these details to Evernote, pretending that I was checking twitter (because I never do that). With the new reminders feature (brilliant), Evernote could remind me to call them, or buy them their favorite drink at Starbucks without having to ask, or not buy them anything mauve.
I promised myself that as long as it didn’t involve labels, it was a good idea.
Who’s with me? Let’s start something. I’m sick of being preoccupied with lists and tasks and trying to get it all done. Let’s turn this obsession into something that helps someone besides ourselves. I want to learn to love people better, and I want to use Evernote to do it, because I am that nerdy.
Now, for you Post-it Types, some advice: It’s creepy to walk by someone’s cube and see “ENCOURAGE STEVE TODAY — HEBREWS 10:24” in huge block letters. Be stealthy. And start small. Do one person a day. You might not even need a Post-it. You might even do the second favorite thing every Post-it Type loves: Send yourself an email.
If you’re on Pinterest, it’s super easy to stalk your friends and see what they’re unsecretly dreaming about. Tomorrow, for example, you’ll know that you need to send your friend Kathy to Mazatlan with a pair of $400 shoes and a Def Leppard iTunes gift certificate. Done. Best friend ever.
If you’re the Three Ring & Label Maker type, you already do all of this crap, and you’re going to comment below on how you’ve taken it 14 steps further than the rest of us. We love you people. Launch us into this thing with all of your wisdom, Three Ring Binder prowess, and label making goodness.
Whatever you do, don’t make it stressful. Make it fun. Be awesome, as Bob Goff says. The point is to use the energy of your life on the things that matter most. Like planning weddings on Pinterest when you’re already married.
Are you in?
If so, comment below, and if you have the courage, confess your List Making Type/Idolatrous obsession with being in control. Consider it Step One: We admitted we were powerless over lists – that our lives had become far too manageable.