Lists can help you find balance in life

Lists have always been my weakness. For as long as I can remember, I’ve made lists in every conceivable manner.
With pen and ink. On the typewriter. On the computer. On 3 x 5 cards. And 5 x 7 cards. On yellow paper. And pink paper. In my Day-Timer. And in the backs of my favourite books.
I make lists of goals and lists of plants to put in my herb bed. Lists of housekeeping tasks and lists of movies to see. Lists of menus to consider and lists of things to get done before the next trip.
Truthfully, it’s hard for me to imagine how you’d run a life efficiently without lists. And maybe that’s why I was so attracted to the two books that were on my desk last week. Because both of them are made up of lists.
“Ten Fun Things to Do Before You Die” by Karol Jackowski, a nun in the Sisters of Christian Community in New York City, and “365 Ways to Simplify Your Work Life” by Fortune 500 consultant Odette Pollar. These two books make a wonderful pair for planning a life.
Even this side of 60, in a phase of life that some people call “retirement,” there are always more things to do than time allows. And the work of life can very easily get in the way of the fun of life. When, in reality, the two should become one.
Pollar’s book can be read one of two ways. The 365 tips for simplifying work implemented one day at a time should produce outstanding results in exactly one year.
But a better way to read the book is in one sitting, making your personal list of the key ideas that apply to your life right now.
“Have fewer things and see each of them better.” “Always look at your schedule before agreeing to accept new work or new responsibilities.”
“Empty spaces are peaceful to look at and live with. Cleared areas leave your mind free to think creative or idle thoughts.” “Always keep your tickets in the same place.”
Pollar’s insight is sure to help you clear your desk and your kitchen counters, and make space for the real purpose of life-the fun of living. And that’s where Jackowski’s book comes in.
“One of the hardest things to find in life is fun people,” says this insightful nun. But the place to start the search is within yourself. Among her 10 things to do are Live Alone for Awhile and Get Some Insight.
When you take time to find your best self, says Jackowski, you’ll open the door to other people and to a higher power that can give your life meaning. And the fun will follow.
As for work, Jackowski calls it “the third of the three biggest bests to find, the other two being your very best self and God. All three go together and cannot survive one apart from the other.”
And that’s the reason these two books make such a wonderful life-planning pair. For a life without balance can never be a life well lived.
So whatever you think about lists, why not give some thought to starting these two lists today? (1). Ways to simplify your work. (2). Fun things to do before you die.
Who knows what a difference those two lists–and these two books–could make in the years ahead.

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