Monday, August 8, 2011


I like task lists. I like them long and I like them short. I don't care if they are filled with menial and low things (take out trash), or complex and long term things (build a garage). I like taking tasks and adding them to lists, and have been known to add things to a list just to cross them off said list. I especially like task lists that are broken into parts (clean living room, which begat vacuum living room, and dust coffee table, and purge magazines). I might be obsessive compulsive about this, as I think about it.

I was asked last week what I love about my job, and one thing I immediately went to was the diversity and ever changing nature of planning. This leads me to task lists, because with my love of lists, I am constantly looking at an every changing and growing to do list. I find that I can't cross something off without adding two or three things. This isn't because my work environment is a bear, it is because there is so much good we are and can be doing. You get a momentum feeling and want to keep adding things to the list.

Here's the rub, you have to cap the list sometimes. I use to track my reading habits. I list the books I am reading, have read and want to read on it. I started the year with 74 books to read this year. I set a goal of reading those books. To date, I have read 85 books since Jan 1. I must have completed the 74 initial books, correct?

Nope. Read maybe half of them and then added over half back, because now I have 91. Moral, I either need to buckle down and not add anything more, and consider the list to be a two year list, or need to accept that the list is rolling in nature and will over time be tackled.

This occurs in all forms of lists, honey do, work, or reading. It is just life, I have determined.

I have written in the past about some tasks I'd like to get complete this summer. Some will happen, but as in other aspects of life, others will not. Being in the public sector we are always in reaction mode. We react to changing public demand, we react to changing regulations from the Federal or State government and we react to changing resource pressures.

One project with lists that might have some finiteness to it, in a limited way, is the Capital Improvements Program. This is a 5 year plan of capital investment the community needs to make. I was looking on the CIP projects that we are now developing and I see some that are in place and will be built and end (such as a road reconstruction). I see some that will continue to be in place from year to year (police cruiser replacement). Some of these items, like my book list seem to always be present. Others like the book I find in the new browsing room at the library get added when they appear to be new.

I guess the end game is that keeping lists and having them remind us of where we are and what projects we can tackle in the event there is free time, is a good thing. I have some projects here in the office that fit that bill. If I prioritized all the tasks we have maybe some would be higher, but at this point they are back burner and good place holders for next year. As with my book list, it is rolling.

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