Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Preventative list writing

Creating lists is a great exercise to bring organisation to your life. All those individual items marching down the page in sequence, ensuring your next event will unfold without additional stress. Unburdening your memory has allowed you to enjoy your outing without constantly double checking yourself, and others, that certain tasks have been done. There's no need to be anal about it, just be uncompromisingly rigid with its use. (That also can easily become an annoying trait.)

Let me supply an example where the failure to make a preventative list causes unnecessary stress. Imagine you’re going on holidays. A nice relaxing, getting away from it all, holiday.

Scenario one: You're half way there and some annoying person says, 'Did you turn the stove off?' There's no way the stove's on. Why would it be on? You left early in the morning and got Macca's instead of making breakfast. But there's going to be an annoying niggle in your brain that your house is burning down. It can ruin ones digestion.

Scenario two: 'Gee, I hope the washing machine hose doesn't burst like I heard happened to what’s-his-name.' Great. Thanks for that. At least it might put out the fire caused by the stove.

Alleviating this problem needn’t be complicated. A ‘leaving the house’ list should be short and only contain the heavy-duty stuff. The smaller stuff will fall into line. You must accept that you can't plan for every eventuality. If someone really wants to break in, they will. If an electrical fault burns the place down, you'd have the same result whether you were down the shops or half a world away.

Here's an example of a list I prepared earlier to give you an idea of how simple it can be:

HWS, A/C's and Stove off at switchboard

Washing machine and Dishwasher off at taps and GPO

All GPO's off except fridges and phone

All windows closed

All doors deadlocked

Hide remotes (if electrical goods are stolen the thieves will have to get up every time the want to switch stations. God, I'm so crafty. In my mind they are too dumb to get replacement remotes so don't try to spoil it for me.)

I can now drive away feeling reasonably secure that I've done all I can. All other occurrences are now judged non-preventable and cannot be cannot be prefaced by, 'Oh, why didn't we...' or, 'we should have remembered to...' These new, and now glaringly obvious, things are added to the list for next time.

(Like it? See - Tanami desert diary)

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