REBOL Technologies

Lists and Intentions

Carl Sassenrath, CTO
REBOL Technologies
18-Mar-2008 18:23 GMT

Article #0354
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I am a list maker. I make a lot of lists -- several times a week.

Most of the time, my new list comes from my old list. Other times, it's a brand new list created from scratch. (Both of these techniques have advantages. Maybe I'll talk about that later.)

To you, perhaps it seems silly to make lists. You keep in your head what you want to do, and you go do it. Perhaps when I was younger, I worked more like that. Perhaps my brain cells were fresher back then.

But these days, simply writing something down helps it to move forward. It's the small first step into the domain of "doing" or "happening"... down that path to what we call "done". (I love check marks. Yes I do.)

And, I've found that talking about doing something is no substitute for making lists. In fact, my observation has been that when one talks about doing something, it is less likely to happen. But, perhaps that is just an illusion or impression. I cannot conclude.

Last month, I had the honor of dining with a woman of historical fame. She told many interesting stories, but she used a term with which I was unfamiliar. She said, "to speak into existence." As alway the student, I interrupted her and asked what she meant.

Her reply goes beyond the scope of this blog, but I can summarize some of the concept: by writing it down you help bring an idea or concept into reality. For me, lists clarify intentions and direct my actions.

No, this is not a new idea at all. It's like drawing a plan before building a house or marking a map before taking a trip. You've got to know what you want to build -- where you want to go.

So, why am I telling you this?

Well, frankly, these days my lists have become quite long.

And that brings me to the next step in my list-making process: I sit back, read the list several times, and think about what's most important. I ask myself:

  1. What is important to the future success of the things I create?
  2. What is important to those who use the things I create?

I sort the list by priority. At the top is what I need to do right now. At bottom, well... let's just say they are not very likely to happen.

In fact, some of you questioned our recent focus on 2.7.6. What you saw was the result of the above method. The release of 2.7.6 was in response to that second line. Also, as with all projects, there's still a few wrap up tasks to do on 2.7.6. They are on a list.

Yes, my lists have become quite long and I've just added to my primary list: figure out how to solve this problem with long lists.

I think I know the answer, but it is the subject for a future blog. By adding it to the list, I hope it moves just a step closer toward happening. One small step.

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