Jennifer Leach English

Up Front: June 2012

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a slave to lists. I have to-do lists all over my apartment and all over my desk, and I rarely leave home to run any sort of errand without a list in hand. My current system involves taking a few minutes at the end of each day to reconcile all of my lists with one master list–and then I start over the next morning.

Believe me, I’ve tried to go paperless and type everything into my phone instead. But I just can’t type fast enough and I can’t resist the immediate satisfaction of physically crossing things off. I’m a bit ashamed by the amount of paper and Post-its I go through, but the reality is that if a task is not on a list, it probably won’t get done.

I always feel a pang of envy after spending time in a particular colleague’s office, because he appears to have become 100 percent streamlined in terms of paperless organization. He has digitized his calendars, task lists and other documents, and there’s often not a scrap of paper on his desk. It’s probably not a coincidence that he is also the most efficient person in our company by far.

It is my obsession with lists that has made this issue of BJT so much fun for me. We’ve assembled a 14-page special section, where you’ll find variously whimsical, provocative and informative lists of everything from hotels to headphones. Our staff, freelancers and past cover subjects have all contributed to this feature, and I suspect you’ll agree with me that their collective efforts have produced some of the juiciest summer reading out there. Every time I look through these pages, I learn something new or discover something to add to my Master Bucket List of places to visit and things to experience.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts. I invite you to send us your reactions to our lists–and your own lists–via the comment section at or by emailing us directly.

Meanwhile, it’s time for me to cross the writing of this column off my list of things to do today–if only I can find that list, which I’m confident is buried somewhere in that big pile of paper on the corner of my desk.

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