Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Listing to port

I've been realizing how list-driven my life has become.

Especially now. In various forms and locations, I have:

    a list of immunizations
    a list of items to take on the trip
    a list of items to leave at home
    a list of people going on the trip
    a list of supportive friends staying stateside (cheerleaders!)
    a list of tasks to prepare for the trip
    a list of projects for work
    a list of plants to get in the ground before I leave...
...and the list of lists could continue.

I wonder how list-bound our African friends are? I hear the culture is less time-driven than ours, and the people are less linear (more global) in their thought processes, and maybe less structured. It seems reasonable to expect them to be less dependent on lists.

We'll want to come in with our lists of tasks -- cable to run, servers to set up, concepts to cover in training -- and we might find a group of people with a very different approach. Not to say their goals are different than ours, but just that their method of getting there might be a little less task-focused.

And I wonder how we'll respond. Will we realize what's happening and flex to meet our friends' work style? Will we rigidly insist on powering through our list and become frustrated when not everything gets accomplished?

Will we learn something from our new friends? Or will we continue to list, growing increasingly off-balance?

I'm looking forward to finding out.

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