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Task Lists

May 9, 2009


photo by jenzwick via flickr
I can’t seem to find a task list that works for me. I’m probably not alone, but I have a running task list of thirty to fifty items. These are work and pe rsonal things I’ve got to get done. I also write down at least a few ideas a week that inspire me orare things I want to write about, blog about, business thoughts, things to do for the family, etc…. I’ve tried Remember The Milk, Moleskines, paper, iPhone apps, MindTouch pages and more. The problem with digital solutions is I don’t have them with me wherever I go. Even when I do it’s tedious to capture tasks digitally. On the other hand I always lose paper based solutions. Most recently I had a paper “pocketmod” that was working really well for me. I kept it in my wallet. Surely I couldn’t lose this! I did. 😦

I wonder what people think of of my task lists and Moleskines. I suspect some of those I’ve lost have been found. I’ve written down some things that surely would appear crazy to someone reading them without context. Or perhaps even with context. I recall one such item I captured was a series of ideas Steve and I tossed back and forth to pass the time when we were talking to a lot of venture capitalists. We would come up with fictional scenarios that we found hysterical. I wrote them down because I had a dream of writing them into a story or even living out the scenarios in real life at a time that it wouldn’t be damning to my career. I’ll share a sample scenario to give you the flavor. Whenever you meet with a VC you’re always lead into the conference room in advance of the partners you’re meeting. The conference room always has a white board in it. Most often these are hidden in a cabinet. One of our fictional scenarios consisted of a giant phallus drawing on the white board. There were several variations of this. In one it would be revealed during the presentation. There are a couple ways you could play this out. You could act shocked, feign anger and disgust. Or, you could just ignore it and work around it on the white board. Perhaps you could treat it as an unveiling and have it as a primary signpost of the presentation. A modified version of this had the drawing on the white board, cabinet open with your back to it. In this one you could act as though you never saw it. Another variation, and this is really my favorite because I’ve unintentionally done this before, included a phallus emerging from a diagram as part of the presentation. I think I had seen the movie Superbad around the time we had dreamt this series up. These ideas were decidedly off color, but they weren’t all related to phalli. It just so happens the few I remember are. Alas, the others are likely lost forever as I lost the Moleskine and so too did I lose the more than a dozen or so silly scenarios like this.

I always write my name and email in my Moleskines and notebooks, but I’ve never had anyone return one to me. Maybe it has something to do with the content. Well, if you have a no fail way of managing tasks please feel free to share.

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