The Music Of A To Do List, Or, Saturday Morning at 9:44am


If you wonder if someone is human, check to see if they have a To Do list. Key symptom of humanity. My list is long and noisy. I swear it plays music. Mostly to the beat of, “Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!” Not particularly friendly. Reassuring, on those days when my sense of self is more tenuous, but there’s a price to be paid for structure.

(I wonder if animals have To Do lists? Bees, beavers, ants certainly build structures. Mother lions and elephants have babies to care for. Caribou migrate. Do they make mental lists? We may never know. But I digress.)

I believe it would be hard to find a person on this planet without a To Do list. Mine has been particularly demanding for some time now. The last year and a half, what with unemployment and various other shifts, has been full of Things Of An Urgent Nature.

I woke up this morning, wandered to the kitchen, sat down with a cup of tea. Waved my mental baton in the direction of the To Do Orchestra. Usually provokes the hum and clank of tuning up. Not today. You know that bit in Peter and the Wolf? Where the flute sounds for the first time, just a few notes? Representing the bird in the tree? I heard that sound. I did. I swear.

A little flourish. Then three bars of silence. Silence, and a pause in the beat. Which means I have time to clean up my study. This is not nothing. Time to pick up random piles of paper that have cluttered my desk, floor, and bookshelves. Tell them what’s what. Time to decide, once and for all, how to store my financial reports and 3rd grade notebooks and family photos. The question of just what categories to use is enormous. Currently everything lies together as though each were as important as the other. As though my life itself were one big heap.

I have lived with this mess for a year and a half, and I finally have enough time and space to take it on. Probably I will play Motown and and dance while sorting. Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch, you know that I love you. Hard to take care of big things when many little things are making noise all at once. Have a wonderful weekend.

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20 Comments

  • I am on a similar organizational mission this weekend. It's amazing how much paper we have in our lives.
    Good music helps to get the task done.

  • Hi! I carry my` to do´ lists in my mind. And undone tasks disturb me. A lot! Usually I try to do things as they come along. If something unexpected comes along, I find it so disturbing. I have been visiting a Swedish blog: chez Larsson. It is mostly about organizing your home/house. She has organized just about everything possible and impossible.

  • After a long, grey Vermont winter, today shines and smells like Spring. I have energy for putting things in their place…Bruce Hornsby is singing in the background ("Spirit Trail" cd)
    Now, if I could only find my signed George McGovern book from 1972 that I've put "in a safe place"……

  • I have read through your recent postings with a big smile on my face. You are adorable! You explain things all of us think & feel, but now it's OK to think & feel this way. Papers on the floor in an office sounds normal to me. Everywhere else is perfection, but my office must be the real me as it doesn't bother me at all. Delightful reading for a sunny, cool Saturday afternoon. Hugs, Marsha

  • Oh yes, cleaning/sorting/organizing are on The List for this weekend. In a major way.

    Hopefully we'll all end up feeling better upon checking things off The List. The goal here is to have the checked-off category more populated than the "To Be Done" category. We're working to Morricone as opposed to Motown, perhaps that would be more inspiring.

    Hope your weekend is sunny and cheery!
    tp

  • Ah, how good it will feel to get to things long put on hold!
    Sun and almost 50 degrees here today, so a major romp and photo shoot on the beach with the dog….heaven.
    Enjoy!

  • I did that sort of organizing right after I retired. I feel I need to do it again – an unfinished symphony of sorts!! :-) Love the metaphorical quality of your posts! You're so gifted. Hope you have a wonderfully productive weekend. xoxo

  • I have a looooooong to-do list – maybe what I need is a new soundtrack to inspire me!

  • Oh good! I have company! Try Pandora Radio online. Pick a channel, or make one:). Splenderosa, thank you so much. Maureen, see you on the beaches of Martha's Vineyard in my dreams…

  • Hello, greetings from Poland – I've just stumbled upon your blog while wrapping up my day and regret not having discovered it earlier! Good luck to you with trimming your to-do list! I wish mine (URGENT, URGENT, URGENT, DUE YESTERDAY….)was so trimmable…
    Enjoy the weekend!
    Teresa

  • I think it's the spring cleaning bug, a good one to have indeed! And now I will have an internal debate for the rest of my life about animals having a to do list… I'd never thought of that before, but will always think of you now on when I think of it :)

    kHm

  • LPC, good luck with the list. Wonderful to see Peter and his friends. Two Thumbs Up!

    Always Bumby

  • Oh dear… my lists have lists!!!

  • Hi, I am watching a show on tv right now called Hoarders that is enough to make me want to start culling and purging and decluttering (and I'm not even a hoarder). Motown is excellent action decluttering to. My choice would be What Becomes of the Broken Hearted. Good luck with your decluttering journey. Remember, clutter is the Devil's Work.x

  • I am impressed that you are going to tackle your study… I am the world's worst procrastinator and will find Other Things To Do instead of the task in hand! Hope you got on swimmingly and I am sure you finished with that wonderful music to urge you on and encourage.

  • Isn't the study fluff just the best, though? Worth crossing off at least 4 other items on the list. ne doesn't throw out as much as box. (Boundless love for Container Store.) And those little metal windows to write on what's inside? Bliss.

  • my study will have to wait 'til spring term is over, altho' if I didn't take time to comment at all my favourite blogs . . .

  • I could spend a whole evening organizing the stacks of papers. The time would be better spent if I just filed them!

    The problem with organizing the clutter is that 2 years later, you have to do it all over again.

  • Ah, to-do lists… I can't live without mine. I get as much pleasure making them as ticking off the items on the lists. :)

  • Congrats on your well-deserved awards! And yes, I do believe and agree with you Australia is going to be the next big thing :) Hoping you had a good weekend, organizing aside–and thanks for the sweet birthday wishes!

    xo Mary Jo