Monday, April 4, 2011

To Do: Make More To-Do-lists.

There's something therapeutic about making a list. I write out all the small, nagging things on my mind and instantly I'm transported to a place of harmony, where everything in my life is organized and in-control. I write it all down in one neat, legible column of black ink and I have a foreseeable way of clearing it all off my plate, forever. Freedom is coming.

The problem is, I create too many bloody lists.

I write one list on the magnetic notepad on the fridge, I make another on a virtual post-it note on my computer desktop, I scribble another in a page of my weekly planner, another on a white board I bought specifically for VERY IMPORTANT lists, and one on a random scrap of paper that will probably be lost under the sofa within a few hours.

Oh, and one more list: the mental list that I construct in my head at around midnight when I'm supposed to be asleep and which, of course, is entirely pointless and by the morning has dissolved into forgettable crumbs mixed with fragments of dreams that won't ever be retrieved or pieced together again.

Why do I insist on doing that? 

All these lists - the scraps of paper, the act of writing them out by hand - they make me feel organized. And for someone like me - huge procrastinator and organizationally-challenged - lists are important. They make me feel better.

But - and it's a gigantic but (no butt jokes please) (because I have a small butt) (hahaha) (you see, I'm distracted again), somehow, the things listed on my lists, don't seem to get done...

For instance, for the past two weeks, there's been one common task written on all of my different lists: to renew a membership with a professional association (which I need, in order to practice my job). I have all the information I need and I know what to do and yet, somehow, I haven't gotten around to it. The most likely outcome is that I'll leave it until two days before the final deadline, and then stomp around the house complaining that some unknown entity keeps mysteriously stealing my stuff.

What the hell, house fairies?

So, to conclude, I am superb at making to-do lists, and completely crap at carrying out the things on the list. Which? Is a problem.

And so, I made a list of things I need to do, to be better at making lists. Because that is not at all insane.
  • Stick to ONE master list. 
  • Destroy all other lists. 
  • Stop using paper on which list is written as coaster / cloth for wiping up spills / paper airplane.
  • Set time limit in which to complete items on list.
  • Give myself a reward for completing items on to-do list on time. (I think this one is definitely going to help)

How about you readers? How do you get around to everything on your to-do list?
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Elaine A. said...

I actually stopped making lists and it's working out better for me. No lie. I didn't even have a list for B's birthday party this weekend and I felt less stressed about it. Seriously. I think they were stressing me out. Crazy, huh?

Good luck with your list about lists... ;-P

Loukia said...

Sadly, I make lists all the time, too, and never do anything ON these lists! In fact, if you were to see my office right now, you'd see little post-it notes with tons of too-do lists written on them. Sigh.
I remember a part in the book Confessions of a Shopaholic that reminds me of me perfectly: she was determined to start living a debt-free life and stop spending money. But first, she had to write a list. But of course, she needed to buy a brand new notebook and pen to make said list! ;)

Captain Dumbass said...

I have a little notebook I carry around all the time. All my lists go in there. Now, looking at these lists is a different story...

Lady Mama said...

Loukia - haha, I remember that scene. I was totally thinking I needed a new notepad to make my list!

WhisperingWriter said...

My Mom LOVES making lists. I mock her for them.

I don't make lists. Unless you count writing on my hand.

Lady Mama said...

WhispieringWriter - if I wasn't freakishly scared of ink poisoning, I'd probably make lists on my hands too.

Mwa said...

I now make all lists on my iPhone. (Yes, I am addicted.) I still manage to ignore them, though.

LisaDay said...

I am a big fan of lists. My husband has your procrastination issue so I don't make him lists any more.


Stephanie Faris said...

I keep trying to keep a daily planner, electronic or otherwise, and I find I just don't do it. I don't stick with it. I do reminders in my phone -- and that works somewhat, as long as I remember to tell it to Alert me. Otherwise it just sits in there and I never even look at it!

James (SeattleDad) said...

I need to do more lists. My mind is not as photogenic as it used to be.

Yes, it looked good in a picture.