It’s August now and I’ve given myself permission to really start thinking about the 2015 NFPW Conference in Alaska. I can’t wait to see more of that beautiful state and have time to enjoy the company of my many NFPW friends.

It is said that half the fun of going someplace or doing something special is the anticipation. I believe that’s true.

I have lots to do at work and home before it’s packing time, but when I take my daily walks or have other thinking times, I guarantee that Alaska is on my mind.

I have already taken the first step by getting out a yellow legal pad to start making a comprehensive list of things to do – kitty supplies, contact kitty sitter, hold mail, make sure I have all the travel supplies and clean clothes ready, etc.

I have a tendency to pack and repack a suitcase in my head dozens of time … usually when I want to be sleeping … before I go someplace even for a weekend. My Alaska to-do list won’t eliminate that habit, but it might cut the mind-packing exercises in half.

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have an active to-do list on my desk, in my pocket or both. Even before I reached post-middle age and my short-term memory went into hiding, a list of things to do was insurance that I’d meet all (or at least most) of my responsibilities.

I’ve also written out questions for interviews for my nearly 38-year career as a newspaper reporter. It is less embarrassing to stop and check a list of questions I prepared ahead of time than to have to call back later to ask something obvious.

There are times when I get through an interview without checking my questions list until I’m done and discover I asked everything on it and more. And fewer days when my to-do list stays in my pocket and I manage to complete all the tasks anyway.

My Alaska list is similarly important in ensuring I take the travel and NFPW business supplies needed, and as a reminder not to try to take along everything I own.

However, it also has the wonderful benefit of allowing me to anticipate this special event every time I write something on the list.