I had coffee with a friend the other day and as we were finishing up to leave, I asked her what she had planned for the rest of the day. She got out her phone and read through the list of things she was hoping to achieve. It went something like this, “Go to post office, buy Euros, return trainers, empty laundry basket, go to supermarket, paint front door, mend dishwasher, cut grass, clean out chickens, tidy greenhouse,” I stopped her there “Whoa! Hang on a minute, did you say paint front door, mend dishwasher, cut grass and clean out greenhouse? As well as all the other, marginally less time consuming jobs on that list?” Bear in mind that it was already gone midday, and said friend had three children arriving home from school in little over three hours, all requiring food and attention. “Do you think you are being a little optimistic?” I asked, tentatively. With the best will in the world, the painting of the front door was probably going to take up most of her available time before she had even considered the chickens, grass and greenhouse.
It got us chatting about lists and list making and I had to make full disclosure that I am, officially, an OCD listaholic. I can’t survive a day without a list, I have daily lists, weekly lists, themed lists, lifetime lists. I even have lists that detail the lists I need to make. they are all stored in what is ‘affectionately’ known as my Bossy Book, notebooks that are my daily bible for getting stuff done. I never throw a Bossy Book away and have over ten years worth sitting on my shelf. My recent discovery of Evernote means I can fuel my terrible cravings even further – I can now make lists when I am walking the dog, in the car, at the supermarket…I need never have list anxiety again.
I do realise that my addiction is a bit extreme, but I am a firm believer that some sort ‘thought filing’ is really helpful in the navigation of life and the hundreds of tasks, of all sizes, that we have to complete from one week to the next. I used to just have one massive ongoing list but, psychologically, it was not a good thing to never be able to tick off all the things on it. So I split the lists up and now, on a good day, I manage to complete every thing on my daily list and that gives a great sense of achievement – never mind that the twenty other lists are all a bit light on the tick front. While I was incredulous at my friend’s list that day, I still totally got it. I think I just need to give her some guidance in prioritising and themeing. Now that sounds like a good idea for a new business, ‘List Angels – Let us Lick Your Lists into Shape’. Quick, I need to write that down, where’s my column for ‘Life Altering Monday Making Ideas?’
Are you a list lover?