Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What I've Been Reading: The To-Do List

book cover, the To-Do List

Can you imagine working through a 1,277-item to-do list in a year - a list with items like "clean self-cleaning oven" and "be nicer to wife" and "find marriage certificate"? Mike Gayle decided it was time he became "a proper adult" and created his list of things to do between one birthday and another. The To-Do List tells us about his experiences.

I found the most interesting parts to be those involving others - when he re-connects with old friends, for example, or when he does something very special for his mother.

There are lots of organizing-related items on the list, but little detail about how those got done. (With 1,277 items, only a few could get much attention in the book.) But just reading the list is fun, with items like this:

- Unpack box marked "loft" still unpacked from our house move 6 years ago.

- Unpack box marked "shed" still unpacked from our house move 6 years ago.

- Unpack box marked "stuff" still unpacked from our house move 6 years ago.

- Get rid of accounts and receipts relating to the year 99/98 ...

- And the year 98/97 ...

- And the year 97/96 ...

- And the year 96/95.

- Use up all the mini bottles of toiletries you insist on liberating from hotel bathrooms.

- Find out what the dozen or so random keys in the key drawer actually open.

And there are some funny organizing-related stories - including the time where the list itself got misplaced and was presumed lost for good.

One story we do get in full is how item #943 gets handled - the item which reads "Find the instruction manuals for the video recorder and the DVD player and work out how to put the correct time on the clocks because they've been telling the wrong time now for five and a half years." The DVD manual is eventually found, but the video player manual is nowhere to be found. But there's still a happy ending. "Problem solved. Have given away our video player to John and Charlotte."

8 comments:

newleafnews said...

My kind of book! This one is going on my list. Thanks for pointing it out, Jeri.

Julie Bestry said...

Oh, this sounds like a hoot. I love reading other people's to-do lists. I can't help thinking "Oh, he could have gotten a replacement manual from this site" or that certain things would be easier done THIS way, but I know I'll like this. Thanks. You are The Finder! You always find the best stuff.

Carmen @ Get Organized! said...

No way! That's so funny. I'm going to definitely have to check it out!!!

Jeri Dansky said...

What a surprise (not) - three other organizers are interested in the book!

It's published in the U.K., making it a bit harder to get hold of for those of us in the U.S. than books published here.

SoCalKal said...

Does anyone know where I might procure it here in the States?

Jeri Dansky said...

I bought it through Amazon.com; it took some time to arrive, so maybe they had to get a shipment from the UK. (I usually buy from independent bookstores, but this was an exception because it's harder to get.)

Librarian Cheryl said...

sounds anxiety inducing!

Jeri Dansky said...

Cheryl, it was somewhat anxiety-inducing for the author - who would periodically consider giving up on the list.