The person I work for loves lists. He thinks lists hold people accountable. I’m not really a list person, at least not at work. I know what I need to do and I do it, if it’s important. If it’s not, it takes a while to get done.
When I started over 9 years ago, he showed me a List of Things That Need to Be Done every day, every week, every quarter, and/or every year. I looked at the list from time to time the first year I was there, but most of the items were no-brainers.
A few years ago, he asked me to print out the list and he added to it (but didn’t remove anything, of course) He gave it back to me. And I threw it in a box somewhere.
A few weeks ago, he asked me to make a List of Things That Aren’t Done, and to update the old List of Things That Need to Be Done.
A few days ago, he said, where’s the List of Things That Aren’t Done?
I said, it’s on the list.
Of things that aren’t done.
He wasn’t quite sure how to reply to that.
Yesterday, he said, where’s the updated List of Things That Need to Be Done?
I told him I couldn’t find it yet, so I couldn’t update it.
So where is the List of Things That Aren’t Done?
I told him I did part of it but wasn’t finished.
Why isn’t it finished?
“Because I can’t find the List of Things That Need to Be Done so that I can know what I haven’t done.”
That one actually made him laugh. A little.
I still haven’t finished either list.