Wouldn’t it be great if there was only 1 thing on your list you had to do? 1 magic thing which would make all those others disappear. 10 Top Tips for making this work. 5 Ways to make sure of something else. 25 things you must do if you want whatsit to be successful. Don’t forget the 15 things you mustn’t forget if you want the 10 top tips to work and the 5 things to get optimized.
They’re everywhere. I’ve got them up to my armpits. I’m sweating lists. Trampling them underfoot as they leak from out of every damned orifice. Yep. I’m weeping lists. I’m bleeding them. Dammit, I’m shitting lists.
I know they are supposed to be good for us. They must be if the marketing boys say they’re the best way to get our attention. Lists don’t just slip into eyeshot. They shout. HERE. OVER HERE. LOOK. LOOK. List ME. ME. ME!
And, because of our conditioning I assume, we do tend to take notice. Lists are what got us through examinations, after all. Didn’t we memorize a list of dates leading up to and after the French revolution? Didn’t we put everything in lists when we planned our revision schedules? I prioritized lists. I had them colour-coded. I had lists of lists.
Now I’m a grown-up and I have shopping lists, and to-do lists, and what to take away with me in my suitcase lists, and Christmas present lists and party invitation lists and, and, and everything on my lists is just as important as the French revolution and I’m SUPPOSED to remember them.
So, when lists stab me in the eyes every time I go on Twitter, I get uncomfortable. I can’t look. I can’t take it any more. I resort to things like absconding to Linkedin and starting a discussion about how I will not open any more messages linked to numbered lists and point blank refuse to visit their websites ever again.
Wouldn’t it be fantastic not to have all those lists pushed in your face? I collected the following lists in only a few minutes this morning:
Ten ways self-publishing has changed the books world http://gu.com/p/3fxtp/tw
How to Publicize & Promote Your Book: 7 Pieces of Advice http://tinyurl.com/breew4r
Top 10 Reasons Why You Need a Content Marketing Strategy http://ow.ly/jQ9vb
Congratulations if you didn’t click on any of the links. You passed the first part of the test. You have taken the first step on the road to recovery. Watch those numbers float away.
There they go. You don’t need them. Numbers are so passé, dahling. Lists are so yesterday. They are last Saturday’s pizza. They are chillblains. Old hat. Nobody wants them.
I’ll tell you something the marketing boys forgot. Are you ready? Paying attention? Shush, you boy, in the back corner. Sit up properly. Turn round to the front and put your bag on the floor. I know you’re hiding behind it, texting. Nobody looks at their crotch and keeps smiling for that length of time. Put that thing away right NOW or hand it over.
Here it is.
Lists don’t work.
Daniel Markovitz from Harvard Business review says so. He says lists set you up for failure and frustration. Unfortunately, he goes on to say this: There are five fundamental problems with to-do lists that render them ineffective. And then, and then, you know what I’m going to say, don’t you?
He effing lists them.
So even so-called experts get sucked in by their own list conditioning.They can’t help it.
That’s it, then. I’m on my own banning lists. All by myself. Doesn’t anybody want to join me?
Just DON’T talk to me about mind-mapping instead of listing. MInd maps are just jumbled lists. They are a conspiracy. If you’re not careful they’ll come at you with all the mind-numbing frequency of chirrupy lists and bore you into acquiescence.
My 1 way to overcome?
Don’t read ’em.