Sunday, June 5, 2011

18k / Lists

It is Friday here in Tokyo. The rainy season has come, and it was raining for most of the day yesterday. But today was nice so I went out for a run. It was a bit humid but I went anyway. At first it felt kind of heavy, and I have had some foot pain recently. But I persisted and kept running. I took short breaks to drink and use the public toilets, and took the opportunity to stretch a little bit each time.

I had been intending to run 5 or 10 kilometers, but in the end I wound up doing about 18. My pace was relatively slow, about 90 minutes, but I’m happy with that. Before I always wanted to keep running the whole time, but that is less fun and limits my distance. My feet were a bit sore by the time I finished, but I felt a real sense of accomplishment. Tomorrow I will most likely feel a real sense of discomfort, but it will be worth it.

Moving on.. the other day I met a friend who told me about his list system for getting things done. It is pretty simple, he has the same list every day more or less, and if the things on it are not necessary for that day he just skips over it and moves on to the next thing.

Lists are something that I do on and off. They do seem to help me to get things done, but so far I have not been able to write them consistently. I keep it up for a few days or so and then lapse again. Then a week or two later I do it again for a few days.

I am the kind of person who likes routines and responds to things being orderly and predictable. As I blogged about in the last post, I’m also a person with memory issues, so lists are a good fit for me.

So, why haven’t I been able to continue with the writing of lists, despite the fact I know they help? Writing down tasks and crossing them off is satisfying, and it seems that writing things down means that they are more likely to be done. So why haven’t I been able to do it?

Perhaps part of the reason is that I have not had anyone to keep my honest about it, and I am prone to procrastinating. Perhaps a public statement that I’m going to work out a list system and then stick to it will help, so that is what this post will be.

Over the next week I’m going to work out a format for a list that I can stick to, and then start actually using it. There will be some trial and error, but I think this is something that could really help me be more effective and a bit more functional. And hopefully, a little happier.


  1. Hey TDR! I'm really curious about your running. When you started out how far were you able to run? 18k to me sounds impossible right now--lol. As for the lists, I do this off and on too, but I do have a habit of writing stuff down so I can remember it. Something about it feels good to get it out of my brain and onto paper.

  2. I do lists too. My entire life is in my Palm z22. It's a total dinosaur of a gadget, but all I use it for is the calendar and to-do list. I'd be totally lost without that thing.

  3. Hey D.R., Good luck on getting your list system going! It sounds like a good plan. I am not the most organized person, and I don't keep lists. Bu have heard that it works for people. They say it takes about three months to make a habit out of something, so if you keep going with it for a while, soon, you will be able to do it regularly without much difficulty, most likely.

  4. @ Running Circles - Your screen name seems to indicate you are well suited to running! I have stopped and started running a number of times, but when I started most recently (last year) I went around 5km. But I didn't run the whole way. I ran a few hundred meters, walked a few hundred, and so on. Gradually I reduced the walking distance down as my fitness improved.

    @Stanley - I think that my lousy memory may not be such an issue if I can work out a good list system plus manage to keep to it.

    @Jen Daisybee - It is a good plan, although it remains to be seen how well I can execute it. It takes three months to make a habit? So, hopefully by September I will have it down pat. Time will tell.

  5. As for lists, I kept a very rigid list system in place for about a year. Recently outgrew it a couple months ago, and found the same amount or more gets done. We already know what is important or enjoyable to us and do those things energetically. People pressure us to do things outside of those activities, so there is really no need for lists. If we want to do something, we do it. If people pressure us to do something, we do it. And tasks outside of that are unimportant.

  6. I do lists but only episodically. For example, a couple of weeks before my last hospitalization, I did a LONG list because I knew I had to get a lot done, and I knew that there was no way I would remember it all.

  7. You could make a general list for everyday and then print out copies for each week. Maybe you can put reminders on your cell phone. I don't know, I'm also not to good at this. Right now I am working on a different sort of "list"- 50 Things Worth Living For. I think being accountable to someone is key, so blogging about might really help you. Good luck!.

  8. Hi all, thanks for your thoughts on lists. I have played around with a few different list ideas but haven't really found one I really like just yet. And other than simple day-to-day activity lists, the issue of lists also leads into larger, long term goals. I'm in the process of trying to figure some of those out, and working back to the smaller daily lists from there.