Getting Things Done…One Step at a Time

Not a very good photo--I was driving--but there they are! Girls on bikes.

In an ongoing pursuit of my successful effort to steer clear of posting anything meaningful for causes either great or small, I will wander through some thoughts on getting things done.  This is better than writing about bad drivers, bad manners, and bad politics, isn’t it?

Although I should recognize two young women who are lucky to be alive today…wait, maybe that’s overstating it…they are lucky to not be hurt.  Driving eastbound this morning on 36th Street up from Lake Calhoun, two young women were in the right lane and I was in the left.  At Hennepin Avenue it seems they wanted to take a left and go north on Hennepin, the only direction available there.  Lo and behold, the light turns green and gives a green arrow for a left turn!  Not hesitating for a moment, both girls turn left, cross my lane — and within only inches, my bumper, too — and merrily pedal their sweet little way northbound on Hennepin.

Me?  Well, I brake — of course — and my laptop goes crashing into my dashboard along with a pile of carefully stacked papers and things.  My dark roast depth charge managed to slosh all over, too.  And I got one of those nervous adrenaline rushes that come with near disaster.  When I passed the bicyclists, they were happily chatting, cool morning air breezing through their young sunny hair.  La, de, da…

I don’t want to write about that.  People will start to think I am an old grouch!

Oh, but I am…how can I not be?  I had to drive down I-35W from Forest Lake to Minneapolis.  A person almost feels it coming in, the lack of character and style.  One almost feels un-human driving through such a desolate freeway-scape.  It really kicks in around Lexington or maybe Highway 10, which runs into Blaine and Coon Rapids, a spot of aesthetic despair if there ever was one.

Driving down I-35W on both sides of the freeway there is nothing, absolutely nothing.  Boat dealers, air conditioning contractors, mega-hardware stores, and endless miles of four-lane suburban mini-highways clogged with anonymous traffic racing to and from places like Walgreens and Applebee’s, then racing again to some blank split-level house in a pitiful development some people choose to call home.  Oh, it’s ugly.  Break down in that environment and help could be days away.  You can bet my hands are tight on the wheel and my eyes ever alert for any danger that might entrap me there…

But I don’t want to write about that either.  I was going to write about getting things done, remember, and a key to accomplishing that is focus; don’t get distracted.  Don’t wonder, for example, whether the semicolon is dead and whether randomly placing one in a sentences was a good idea.  No matter…I doubt any grammar whizzes read this blog.

So back again to getting things done.  Or should I say accomplished?  Who cares?  Here is how I am going to do it:

I am going to make a list each night and the next day just do everything on that list.  Simple.  Whether it can be done or not, I am going to do it.  I’ll even put a few challenging things on there just to make it challenging.  There are, alas, so many simple things I should do, however.

Like my dear friend Katherine…her dog died…have I called?  Nope.  That’s the kind of guy I am and that’s the kind of thing I can fix by putting it on my list.

Or suppose I want to finish a book.  Looking at it doesn’t get that done; I have to read it!  (Another semicolon.)  So how do I fix that?  I put “Read for one hour” on my list and I don’t quit the day until I have done exactly that…at minimum.

Maybe I think it is important to write about ignorant, misguided politicians, comparing them to Brownshirts or something like that, but just haven’t gotten around to it.  How do I fix that?  I put it on my list then do it.

Simple.  Easy.  Done.

There are things that don’t need to go on the list, things like take a nap or go for a walk.  But I think I’ll put those on my list just to add to my sense of accomplishment which in turn will lead to a greater sense of self-worth.  Speaking of which, I have a copy of a book that just doesn’t fit into my library and needs to be returned.  It is Win:  The key principles to take your business from ordinary to extraordinary by Frank Luntz.  (Come now…What was I thinking?)

Who needs a freaking overpriced book that essentially fills your head with “winning” jargon?  All I need is a list!

Return that book.  It is on the list.

I have some eye-rolling things I have to do for the office, too.  Tell people how I succeed and my top “winning” lyric et cetera.  Makes me queasy just thinking about it.  I think I’ll come up with something terribly cliché.  I’ll say…I keep a daily to do list!

So much to do…so little time.

What’s on your list?  I have an idea!  Tell your friends and family to read this damn blog, thank you very much.



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