Thursday, January 30, 2014

My to-do lists

I'm a big fan of to-do lists. Ask anyone who works with me. I have an electronic to-do list that covers everything I'm supposed to do that isn't addressed by some other entry on my calendar. I consult it when I begin each day. I use it to write my status reports. I use it to nag people who owe me topics to be edited. I live and die by my to-do list.

As a result, most people think I'm really organized and efficient. That is the end result, of course. The truth is, I know I'm not very efficient or organized. (I have the personality tests to prove it.) Left to my own devices, I'd forget everything and happily piddle away the day on the internet. So, my to-do lists are mostly in self-defense.

I realized awhile back, however, that the books I buy are another type of to-do list. There are books I think I'm interested in. There are books that I think I should or will be interested in. There are books about things I once thought I might be interested in and might be interested in again. . . . someday. 

Don't get me wrong. I read. A lot. I average 1.5 books a week. Sometimes more if the book is really gripping or I'm sick in bed. I sometimes read two or three books at the same time. Still, against all the books in the world, that's a small dent.

I suppose I could make a list of all those books I want to read, but I'd probably lose it since I can't think of a digital reminder that works as well as the little alarms that go off for my online to-do list. So, I buy the book instead. 

Before the advent of Kindle, I brought home stacks of books from Borders, Barnes and Noble, Half-Price Books, Goodwill, and garage sales. I'm even organized enough to mostly alphabetize them by author last name; hardbacks in the living room book shelves; paperbacks in my office. I occasionally purge a few when I realize I will never read them, but I'm never as heartless with books as I am with shoes. 

Now, I have three Kindles that are slowly filling up with books that I am reading or will someday read. 

All these books are the to-do list of my future life. Proof that I have a future. Sometimes, I think I keep books in reserve against a time when I might not be able to go out and get books or can no longer afford them. I'm a book survivalist. It makes me happy.