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Put It on the List

Feb 17th 2021

When I was an undergraduate, my roommate caught me making a list of homework assignments. He looked at me with mild disgust and sternly warned me, “Don’t be a list-maker”. I believe his intention was to encourage me to “live in the moment” and not be constrained by lists, more specifically, some pre-conceived idea of what I should be doing for the day. At the time, I didn’t understand his point at all because we were both going to MIT, a notoriously difficult school. I could not figure out how he expected me to get anything done without making a list. After all, there was so much to do!

Years later, when I was in graduate school at the very same Institute, we had an in-class project to take the Myers Briggs personality test. I resisted this like the plague but eventually had to acquiesce. In the end, I found out I had the type of personality that would go so far as to make a list of things I’d already done specifically so I could check things off the list. All these years I thought that was just me. It turns out, there’s a whole bunch of people like that and they have their very own “type”! I was greatly relieved by this discovery and went on to make many more lists with complete impunity.

Today, I make lists for my quilting projects. They help me to know what supplies I need to acquire, remember where I am on project, decide which project is more important, and more. Is it a gift? If so, it needs to get done sooner. Is it for a quilting pattern I have to get published? Well then, better put that at the top of the list!

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