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2010 is the Year of the List

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I used to name my years.

It started maybe 5 years ago. I have this vivid memory of the exact moment when I was explaining it to my friend Jean– we were in the train station heading towards our office when I told him about how I started naming my years. I’m thinking this was 2005.

I said I was choosing a theme for the year– “Year of the Adventure” or whatever, and then living your life according to that principle.

So 2010 is Year of the List. Allow me to explain.

I’ve been using Mark Hurst’s Gootodo task list system for about 3 years. It’s the best system I’ve ever worked with and, as a result, everything I ever think to do goes into the list, no matter how big or small. So after all this time I’ve built up a bunch of stuff in there that I want to do. For example, last week after reading Jason Kottke’s blog I decided I wanted to learn to juggle a bit (here’s why). So I put it on the list. I have small projects on there, like packing for my upcoming move, and huge things, like “book a flight to Brazil.”

Anyway, remember when I wrote Give in to the Machine a few months back? I was thinking the other day that the big problem with people’s task lists is their inability to just do what the list says– no matter their feelings on it. We change our minds too much, and don’t trust in the list, which our younger selves wrote. We think “my priorities are different now” or “I’ll get to that later” when we should be saying “I wanted this for myself. I’m going to do it now,” regardless of how we feel about it at the moment.

Anyway, back to the idea.

My life is a lot different than it was a few years back. I can work wherever I like, have a fair amount of free time, etc. So my thinking is that since I have the liberty to do so, I should now submit to the list 100%.

Anytime I think of something I want to do, I put it on the list.

Anytime something is on the top of the list, I do it (or take a step towards it).

Result: Cycling through all the stuff I want to do, find out if it’s for me (by trying it instead of guessing), and continuously adding new things into it that I’m curious about.

So on the day I come to the juggling, I’ll spend a day practicing the stuff in this video. On the day it tells me to book my flight to Brazil, I choose a date, grab the flight online, and start planning the details.

You can join me if you want. Your list can be as big or small as you like it to be, with stuff as grandiose or as detail-oriented as you feel comfortable with. But the point is to submit 100%, go to it every day, and do exactly what it says.

What do you think?

* Filed by Julien at 4:59 am under projects


Hi, I’m Julien Smith. I'm the founder and CEO of Breather.

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One Response to “2010 is the Year of the List”

  1. Sumer Says:

    You make me feel less crazy, that’s what I think.

    That same year, I started theming my years. “Grace” “Patience” “Happiness” were all themes. This years was about “relationship”. I goal to explore these things, focus on them, remind myself of them and work towards them.

    I’ve been doing this 100 Things I Fear challenge – which was very similar to your list. I’m happy with it. Glad how it’s changed me and exposed me, but it makes me know that the list is not something I want for next year.

    I, however, am going to start thinking about the theme for next year. Thank you for the reminder. And I’ll be thinking about you and your list! :)

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