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Keeping track of what's really important

I am a list-maker. I rarely find myself in the grocery store without a list. I usually start a to-do list at night and leave it in my kitchen to remind me of errands to run the next day. I have sticky notes on my computer screen and my desk and even on my dashboard so I remember to send an email, file a bill or make a call.

Lists and sticky notes help keep me organized and on task. At the same time, though, these lists tend to be repetitive. Next winter, I promise you, I'll put on a coat I haven't worn for six months, stick my hand in the pocket and pull out a grocery list that nearly (maybe perfectly) matches the new one in my hand. Cat litter, milk, eggs, english muffins, hot sauce, whatever.... Really; it's happened before and I know it will again. I needs these lists for the day-in, day-out things that don't change a lot. Repetitive, but necessary.

But what about your bucket list? Now there's a list that also counts. Do you have one? And, if so, have you really written it down -- on paper -- and are you checking things off? I mean, if a trip to the moon is on your bucket list, maybe you're shooting a little too high. A bucket list is just as important as a daily to-do list but, like that to-do list, maybe your bucket list should be, well, doable.

Why not make up a bucket list just for the next 12 months? And put things on it that really are manageable but really are a stretch at the same time. Like going to a Broadway play. Or watching fireworks from a boat. Or taking a metal-working class. Or visiting a state you've never been to, or a museum, park or monument you've always wanted to see. How about treating yourself if that's something you rarely do? A full spa day. A guided tour. A hike. A reunion with an old friend.

Just like your to-do list, or your grocery list, make your bucket list something you can achieve. But, unlike your to-do list or grocery list, make it really special.

And, get back to me (or yourself) in 12 months with a report on how that went.

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