Lists help writer to stay organized, keep moving forward…

Lists help writer to stay organized, keep moving forward… For me, lists simplify my life. They help me to stay organized. They remind of what I have to do. They keep me in line. Come to think of it, my lists guide just about my every aspect of my life, like the list of topics to write about, the list of groceries to get at the store and my daily "to do" list at my office. Some lists are more essential than others are. Take for instance the list I make when packing for a trip. Without jotting these things down, I would be lost before even leaving the driveway: 1. Atlas 2. Map Quest directions 3. Toothbrush 4. Toothpaste 5. Phone 6. Phone adapter 7. Phone numbers 8. My feather pillow 9. Afghan 10. Tea 11. Bible 12. Chewing gum 13. Emergency car stuff 14. Notepad and pens 15. Walking shoes 16. Kleenex 17. Portable computer 18. Jump drive 19. A good book or two 20. Two pairs of reading glasses 21. Sunglasses 22. Homemade granola 23. Travel mug 24. Cash and credit card 25. More tea…. I don't always write down all of my lists, like my list of rules that I try to live by. Of all my lists, this one causes me the most consternation. Some days are more difficult than others are to follow this list: 1. When receiving a compliment, smile and say, thank you. 2. Respond to introductions by saying, "It is a pleasure to meet you." 3. As hard as it may be, do not be bossy. 4. Greet strangers. 5. Do not judge. 6. Listen to what people are saying. 7. Hear the stories behind their words. 8. Ask questions. 9. Always say please and thank you. 10. Be understanding. 11. Praise in public. 12. Criticize in private. 13. Do not pander. 14. Ask for what I need. 15. Don't be defensive. 16. Be patient. 17. Hug my puppies. 18. Be tidy. 19. Plan ahead. 20. Plan supper. 21. Read more. 22. Write more. 23. Practice my piano. 24. Be accountable. 25. Tell the ones I love how much I love them. 26. Encourage others. 27. Email my friends. 28. Avoid salty foods. A resident of Southeast South Dakota for more than 30 years, Paula Damon is a popular columnist, keynote speaker and freelance writer. Her columns have won first place in Iowa Press Women and National Federation of Press Women competitions. Paula's col-umns took second place statewide in the South Dakota Press Women 2007 and 2008 Communications Contests. To schedule prose readings by Paula Damon for your next event or fundraiser, e-mail paulada mon@iw.net. 2008© Paula Damon

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