Saturday, January 3, 2009

She Makes Lists

I must apologize for my long absence from posting. To those of you who have been sending me e-mail, and to those of you who accosted me in person over the Christmas holiday, I want to say I’m sorry for neglecting to keep you up to date on the happenings in Sandy’s life. You must understand, though, taking care of my fantasy author, Sandy Lender, has been a fulltime job as of late. I have good news there: she’s doing very well. In fact, she’s doing so well that she’s participating in your society’s annual tradition of setting new year’s resolutions. (You can share at the main blog.)

I can’t recall her ever doing this before…
Now, I’ve seen her set goals. And I’ve seen the crazy system she uses to meet the goals. You can use this blog as a how-to guide if you like—how to make your new years resolution a reality or how to keep your new years resolution. Whatever you like. But, I warn you, it’s a bit odd. It focuses on lists. Stages of lists. Random lists and organized lists.

She starts by writing the goal in the middle of a piece of paper. Then she writes out random two- to four-word actions she will have to take to get to the goal. She writes them as they occur to her in rapid-fire succession all over the paper, speckling it with these action items in no particular order. It looks chaotic but she refers to it as stream-of-consciousness. She will usually set the paper aside after a while and come back to it frequently with new action items that have occurred to her over the period of a couple days.

When she feels satisfied that she has plenty of actions written down to help her get to her goal, she’ll sit down and prepare an organized list or two…or three… Depending on the goal she’s trying to reach, there might be internal goals to hit first.

Here’s an example to make it all make sense.

Back when Sandy moved to Florida, she needed an extra large sheet of paper. She bought one of those huge sketch pads and placed “move” in the middle of it. Some of the random actions were “sell house”, “find a school for xxx”, “find a job”, “pack”, “get boxes”, “revise resume”, “garage sale”, “clean out basement”, etc. Now, as you can see, “revise resume” would go on a list under “find a job”, but for this initial, stream-of-consciousness exercise, the point is to get as many action items down on paper as you can. Organizing them is the second step.

And that’s what she did next. She turned over all school-related actions to her ex-husband because the move centered around getting him to a school where he could lift out of his decade-long depression. The rest of the items went on lists that she organized and put in motion so the goal of moving could be met.

So what new years resolution do you need to sit down and think about meeting? You might try this anal-retentive list-making system of Sandy’s. Start with the “splatter” of actions and ideas all over a large piece of paper, and then organize those actions and ideas into manageable lists that lead you to success.

Good luck with your goals and resolutions this year.

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1 comment:

Laura M. Crawford said...

Nigel, Sandy isn't the only one who makes lists. I have lists all over the place, grocery, "Get It Done" (Instead of "To-Do"), my "Bucket List", etc.

I have never tried the "splatter" brainstorming method before, but since I am willing to put fear in the past and try new things, I will give this a try!!

Thanks for a great post! And give Sandy a huge hug from me, Quint and Alex!

Laura :)

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