For the Love of Lists

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.

Lists

A 10 year archive of lovely lists.

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?

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8 thoughts on “For the Love of Lists

  1. Lottie Lomas says:

    I would love to be a list-lover, but I am so disorganised that all I can manage is some sort of messy mind map thing. And it’s such an effort to even do that, that I mostly don’t bother. And so I mostly forget everything. thinks: need to be more organised in life.

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  2. thesingleswan says:

    I love a good list and can be guilty of writing completed actions on my list just so that I can have the pleasure if ticking them off – a bit silly? Ah yes. X

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  3. Anya from Older Single Mum and The Healer says:

    I keep my lists in a book now, and try to allow a week rather than a day to get things done. That way, I don’t lose them and I can keep home / work stuff in separate ones, but the best advice I ever got was to write down your top ten priorities, then cross out the last nine! It really gets results! X

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