Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Chained to my Lists

Chained to my Lists

In the inaugural column of “It’s on the List,” I discussed my inveterate list-making origins.

-Can you trace your list-making habits to heredity, or is it something else, like a learned trick to manage our fast-paced stimulating world?
-What do your lists look like? Are they on nice paper, scraps, or digital? Do they have an app for that?
-Do your lists help, or do they indict you?
-Do your lists keep you organized?
-Do your lists keep you procrastinating?
-What kind of odd things are on it?
-What could we tell about you as a person by reading your lists?

Share your story here with us. We’ll pick our favorite, and put you on our list.


  1. I had a recent encounter with some lists:

  2. Lisa McCaskill wrote:

    I like to make lists of all the things I need to buy; whether it be groceries from Whole Foods, toiletries from Target, or doggie supplies from the local supply store. The problem with my lists is that they rarely make it with me to the store of the day. They have a habit of hanging out in the kitchen on the table or the island or the side of the fridge, or on my desk, or in the pocket of the coat I decided not to wear at the last minute.

    This has become a running joke at my house. My grown daughter (who lives at home - another story) and my significant other are always highly amused when I must humble myself, yet again, and phone home to ask them to find my list and read it to me.

    I then use all the mental power I can muster to memorize said list but it never fails that I get home to find that I have forgotten something; thus starting the cycle all over again. I assure myself, though, that next time it will be different.

  3. My husband is the king of lists. He even has lists of lists to keep him organised! MMM what does that say????

  4. I LOVE a list!!! I only wish my house was as organized as my lists are. I make lists on cute personalized notepads (that I create), notepads touting a particular drug that is made by my husband's employer, envelopes from junk mail, notebooks, journals and dry erase boards. There is an inherent problem with making them on dry erase boards....you have to copy the list to take it with you or.....call home once you are in the store and have it dictated to you. Sometimes I decide against making the call but alas I always forget one or two items and they always end up being ones that were hugely important to someone in the house..."You forgot poptarts??!!" I love the feeling of accomplishment when I mark through something on a "to do" list but all of my lists don't necessarily require action. I keep a gratitude journal and in it I list all the blessings in my life. I love looking back through the years and rereading the lists. My lists do all have one thing in common, they are NEAT! I have always loved the neatness of my handwriting, now again if my house were as neat as my handwriting....ahhh well not gonna happen. Off to my blog to make a list of all the things I am looking forward to in October :)

  5. Fabulous posts, my fellow listees! You'll be hearing more from Lisa on our website.
    And Dawn, Beverly's comment about whiteboards brought back a memory--we were going to erase your husband's 5-year plan from his whiteboard to make notes. Thank goodness we didn't--having 4 laptops in the room, what were we thinking?
    And the gratitude journal! Thanks so much for mentioning that. I've been doing the same for a long long time, but forgot about that as a list item! Will have to pursue that in a column format...but I'm not organized enough to keep them, and my handwriting sucks! What a lovely gift you have to pass on to someone, or to publish. Thanks, Beverly.

  6. Lists, ah lists.
    My lists are ephemeral reminders that literally hang from my neck like a millstone. My phone doubles as an mp3 player, so it swings across my chest in a neoprene pouch with earplugs like tentacles reaching into my head. When I’m doing something mindless, which is the majority of my day, I listen to podcasts to convince myself that I’m informed or to shout down the chatter in my head. If I suddenly remember I need to buy potatoes while walking the dog, gingerly avoiding the poop left by my neighbours’ dogs, and listening to WTF with Marc Maron, I whip out my phone, quickly flip to the agenda and add that crucial item I’m bound to forget later when I’m staring blankly at the fruits and vegetables wondering what in the world I so desperately needed to buy that I wrenched myself out of my sweat pants and dragged myself to the store.
    If my phone were stolen or suddenly suffered a fatal blow, I would wander aimlessly, desperately trying to recall when the next orthodontist appointment was scheduled or whether my daughters needed new underwear or socks. I maintain a running list of ‘Things I want to buy the next time I’m in the US’ so that I don’t forget to bring back rice vinegar, Red Vines and packets of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing.
    Recently, a friend told me about one he keeps: a judgement list. Every time he catches himself judging someone or something, out comes his list. I’m sure, as he claims, it helps him turn his thoughts to things he’s grateful for or to his strengths and weaknesses, but for me, judging is a continuous function that runs in the background like an operating system. A list like that would consume the 4 measly GB my phone can hold, and I’d have to delete it 1-2 times each day, giving me one more thing to put on my list of ‘Things to Do’.

    Laura (a fan in Spain)


Thank you so much for commenting - it makes our day! Your comment will appear just as soon as I get the wash out, and determine that you're a real person!