Swanwick Day 2 – To-Do Spidergrams

I’ve always been highly organised – or anally retentive, as an unkind colleague once described me. One of my delights is writing To-Do lists, in the form of spidergrams. On trains, on planes, in hotels – each time I feel my busyness overwhelm me, I make another list.

Best of all are the ones I prepare in my own office, with coloured pens on flip-chart paper – blue-tacked to the wall for all to see. I use them as a plan of what must be done and a record of what has been achieved. I’ve even been known to add completed tasks (which I’d forgotten to list previously) to the list, so I can immediately cross them off.

My lists encompass the day job, creative writing and personal life and are written in code. The latest one has headings of: Writing, Party; HIS work; CWC; NAWC; CBG and Swawnwick. I make mini-lists on a daily basis, taking critical tasks off the master list.

Once while on a business trip, I got a call from a client to say a project I’d assumed to be cancelled was not only back on, but also pulled forward. Tears rolling down my face, I told my partner I couldn’t do it all. He just sighed, pull a blank sheet of paper towards him and picked up a pen. ‘Let’s make a list’ he said.

It has been suggested that making lists is a substitute for getting things done (like sharpening your pencils instead of doing homework). That can’t be true – my list is different every time I draw it. Nevertheless, it doesn’t seem to get any shorter.

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By Elizabeth Ducie

Elizabeth Ducie was a successful international manufacturing consultant, when she decided to give it all up and start telling lies for a living instead.

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