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Doug Lewandowski column: Put it on the list, and in perspective

When a demand is made, a response of “I’ll put it on the list,” generally merits an eye roll or sigh from my life’s partner.

Doug Lewandowski
Doug Lewandowski
We are part of The Trust Project.

I make lists. They’re to remind me of the things I am supposed to do. It’s a way to organize. I have never been able to remember the tasks I’ve committed to between my ears for later review. I learned a long time ago if I parked something there it would wind up spun away by the distractions of daily life and towed away to the junk pile of memory.

Of course placing a task on a scrap of paper or the reverse side of an ancient, out-of-date business card implies a level of commitment to another person or oneself to get something done. Having an active mind however does not help in clearing the clutter away. If nothing else, it just adds to piles of things to do that increase anxiety and the ability to get anything started. It’s much easier to bail out and thumb through the nearest news feeds or car magazine.

Then there are priorities. Because something ends up on a defunct business card or notebook paper doesn’t indicate where it falls on the “to do” register. When a demand is made, a response of “I’ll put it on the list,” generally merits an eye roll or sigh from my life’s partner. Placing something on the “honey do” registry frequently consigns the task to forever forgotten until the next reminder comes.

Most domestic responsibilities end up being split or shared based on lives lived together or personal interests. I have rarely heard Sarah make a pitch to change the oil in the car. On the other hand, it would be an extremely rare, if nonexistent occasion to see me walk around the house with a rag and a spray can of Endust. If you can’t shovel it, why bother seems to be my way of thinking. I do have to admit that sometimes I cave in and grab the Swiffer when the dust bunnies gang up on me underneath my office desk. I’m distracted enough as it is.

Speaking of desk. The agreement, and let me say no contract was signed, if I was to have the office with a view to the west with its lush forested landscape, was to keep it clean and orderly since it’s on the way to our bedroom. Here, I have failed miserably. In addition to the registry of tasks undone or on the back burner, I have devolved to stacking. Due to a failure to clear lists, piling things on a desktop or bookcase is meant to be a temporary solution to an organizing problem. Unfortunately, the short-term answer becomes a long-term issue and my occasionally muttering, “Where in the ____ did I put that?

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So far we can make it into the bedroom when we’re tired. I have not shifted to hoarding as a solution. How in the world would I be able to dust when I get the urge?

Related Topics: DULUTH
Doug Lewandowski is a retired counselor, educator and psychologist.
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