List Maker List Maker – Rate me a list

I am a keen list maker.

A quick look at the Notes app on my phone reveals all the usual stuff: outdated shopping lists, blog topics, ideas for Christmas presents, music for the Absolute Lizzie Funeral Selection Volume 2. (Just me? My children and I joke about the fact that at this rate, my wake is going to have to take place over a weekend. Could be kinda fun.)

the front and back covers of an album titled Absolute Lizzie's Funeral Selection

My need for a list has been exacerbated by my imperfect memory.

An ex-employer once called it a bad memory. No shades of grey there. He also once told me – à propos of my request for the occasional crumb of positive reinforcement – that on his wedding day, when asked by his bride to declare his love for her in his speech, he responded ‘I told you once that I love you. If that changes I’ll let you know.’

I preferred the view of the business coach he employed, who reframed my memory as an efficient one. Once I have attended to a task or delegated it, all recollection of it dissipates into the ether, leaving my mind free to take on new information.

A black board with coloured blocks spelling out Train Your Brain
Photo by Margarida Afonso on Unsplash

I’m going with the business coach.

Making to-do lists of tasks and crossing out entries on completion became part of my work strategy. It still is. I rely heavily on my Notes app. As well as to-dos, it contains a haphazard compilation of recommended books, films and series which, as I have found to my financial cost, is often more miss than hit.

I love listening to Radio National’s The Bookshelf. Kate Evans and Cassie McCullagh are thoughtful, gently enthusiastic reviewers. I so want to follow their recommendations. And yet after multiple attempts, I have to concede we are not on the same wavelength. Thanks to them, I’ve got a copy of Charlotte Wood‘s The Weekend and Hilary Mantel‘s The Mirror and the Light going free to a good home. (Drop me a line via this website and they’re yours.)

When it comes to big- and small-screen viewing, my go-to guy is Jason di Rosso of RN’s The Screen Show. I’m also a huge fan of Robbie Collin, film critic at The Telegraph. They usually steer me in the right direction and if they don’t, I always enjoy the ride, even if the destination is not quite what I’d hoped. My brother is another film-barometer, but of a different kind. I can almost guarantee that I will not enjoy any film he recommends. A go-to guy of a different stripe, but useful all the same.

Last week I met a young man who showed me a way round my dilemma. He showed me a list of songs in his Notes app – he’s a musician/producer – and next to each entry was a set of initials belonging to the person who recommended it. He regularly goes back to his list and mentally rates the reviewer/recommender.

Silver click pen on black planner beside white iPhone
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

The penny dropped: my lists lack rigour.

This weekend I plan to go through them and initialise each entry. It won’t stop me from listening to The Bookshelf, or talking movies with my brother, but the initials KE or CM next to an entry will prompt me to do a bit more research before committing credit card to EFT machine.

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