Editors’ Blog

The To-Do List Book

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

By Rachel Fershleiser

To-Do: Read Sasha Cagen’s To-Do List Book.

I need to start writing more, going to bed before 5 am, and making it to dance class. I need to stop biting my nails, procrastinating, and forgiving people who lie to me.

This time of year, almost everyone is composing a wish list. What I want from Santa gives way to what I want from myself, as yellow pads amass promises of diets begun and workout regimens adhered to.

But for most of us, all the time is list time. I’m a disorganized person, but I write groceries on my fridge, deadlines above my desk, and every man I’ve ever kissed in the same spiral notebook I began at 14.

Sasha Cagen, the author/blogger/magazine editor/pop culture genius who conceived Quirkyalone has turned her attention to the humble To-Do List. Her new book To-Do List: From Buying Milk to Finding a Soul Mate, What Our Lists Reveal About Us is both sociologically illuminating and voyeuristically thrilling.

“Our lists reveal our secret selves,” she writes in the introduction. “They show us as the hilariously imperfect works-in-progress that we are every single day.”

Each list is reproduced on the original page in the original handwriting, and the effect is visceral enough to give a full image of the writer (or post-traumatic stress syndrome if one happens to be your old boss). Health lists, sex lists, things to do before you die…each is intimate and kind of inspiring. Read some below and then grab a post it to start your own—or post it in the comments. Need more inspiration? You know what to do. -Rachel Fershleiser
Listen to Sasha Cagen talking about to-do lists on NPR’s Talk of the Nation.

Click on photos to enlarge; mouseover for previous and next.

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