Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Making Lists

Hello, my name is Leanne, and I am a list-oholic.

If that's not a thing, it should be.

I am addicted to list making. I make to-do lists every day, and edit them several times over the course of the day. I could not live without my digital appointment and list-keeper, iCal. It's the one window that is always open on my computer. In fact, I often neglect to shut down or even re-start my computer because I might need to access it. When I first bought my MacBook and discovered that my previous digital list-keeper, AnyTime, would not run on it, I practically had a breakdown. I obsessed about it for days, trying to find an Apple equivalent, before I gave in and adjusted to iCal. When I got my iPhone and found that the iCal app would sync and keep track of my appointments but not my to-do list, I remember saying, "Then what's the point of this stupid phone?" (I got over that quickly, though: I Love/Hate My iPhone)

Pre-computer, I used notepads and special PenTech pens. My favorite accessory throughout high school was my day planner. I spent an inordinate amount of time picking them out every year, and if I couldn't find one to suit my needs, I'd make my own. Nothing thrills me more than crossing out an item or checking a box, whether it be by pencil, pen or mouse click.

I once wrote a list of reasons for why I broke up with a guy. I kept the list to remind me of why I didn't want to be with him in case I ever weakened and thought about getting back together. (It worked.)

Have I convinced you that I have an addiction? Have I convinced you that I need help?

The thing is, I love being a list-maker. It keeps me on track with my goals and dreams as well as my regular household chores, and even helps me keep in touch with my loved ones. I do a lot of rescheduling. For example, today's to-do list included:

-Go to pharmacy
-Return books at library
-Vacuum upstairs
-Cook dinner
-Write in journal/reschedule
-Edit 10-15 pages of novel/reschedule
-Write blog post/reschedule
-Call Grandma/reschedule

Those "reschedules" remind me not to check off that I've completed that item for the day, but to reschedule it for the next time it's needed. All of the writing items are rescheduled for the next day, except the blog post, which is twice weekly. Calling my relatives and friends are often rescheduled weekly or bi-weekly. I wouldn't necessarily forget to call them, but it makes me feel better to know that I have a reminder anyway, just in case life gets busy and I allow too much time to slip by. As you can see, I rely very heavily on my list. It allows me to free my mind from the need to remember, and instead focus on accomplishing things. 

Sometimes, though, I wonder if I need to take a break from list-ing. I need to set it aside, close the window, and just live through a day or two without feeling so "on." I do this during vacations, of course, but other than that, I rarely take a break. I'm just too much of a list-oholic, and I don't know how to break the hold. I don't even really want to.

I wrote a short story last year called "Sunday Girl" about a woman named Susie who had to, simply HAD TO accomplish everything on her list every day, no matter what. She did it at the expense of her marriage and other relationships, and even her own health. (The "Sunday" part of the title referred to the day she sat down and planned out her entire week, down to the last workout and cello-practicing session.) She was a great character, but I never came up with an ending for the story, because I didn't know how she would break the habit, never having broken it myself.

What do you think? Do I need to break my list habit if it's helping me live the life I want? Or am I actually missing out on life by spending time making lists? How would I break the habit, if I wanted to? Is anyone else out there a list-oholic? Maybe we could start a group.

1 comment:

  1. I am! I love lists. I LOVE crossing off lists. and now a days, I need lists more than ever. And I too have actually created my own calendars, etc. Ha, we're nerds, and I like it.