My hubs and I have been having a little argument, ahem, discussion lately about how to manage our never ending “list” of things we need to do. I am a list maker, he is not.
I make things to do today lists, and things to do later lists, things to buy lists, and changes to make lists, I like to make all kinds of lists.
Hubs is not a list maker. Ever. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen him make any kind of list. He thinks that they are pointless because they just make you feel like you didn’t get anything done, and that you still have so much left to do. He says that he just does what he needs to do, when it needs to be done, and then moves on.
I did a little impromptu, unplanned experiment over the last month, partially because I was really busy, and partially because I wanted to see if what he was saying was really true – that since I usually put way more on my list than I could ever get done it makes me feel overwhelmed and inadequate.
So, for most of the month of January and beginning of February, I didn’t make lists. No to-do lists, or meal plans, or schedules for the day. No things I’d like to get done lists, or things I need to buy lists. About the only lists I made were my reading list and my green changes to make list, but those don’t really count because they really don’t affect things on a day to day basis.
And this is what happened. Instead of realizing that I felt overwhelmed because of my lists, I found that I was completely lost without them. They help me to stay on track. They help to keep me focused. The help me to be intentional about what I do with my time. Instead of feeling free to do what I needed to do, when I needed to do it like hubs said, I felt overwhelmed and inadequate without them.
So, I’m going back to list making, starting this week. I made a meal plan, I have a list of things to do this week, and I am feeling much better than I have in a while.
So, all of that is a big long intro about me and my lists, just to get to the question of the day:
Do you make To-Do lists?
Do you like to make lists?
What do you use your lists for?
Do lists help you to stay on track, or make you feel overwhelmed by all you have to do.
If you don’t make a list do you feel free, or lost?
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Jackie @ Crest Cottage says
I need my lists! I am not great about writing them, though. I use them most at work because I have 2 full time jobs in addition to keeping up my home… without them I wouldn’t know what to do where!
I love to make list. I make list for the day, the week, the near future and the distant future. List help me get things done, stay focused and stay excited for the future. I re-do and re-organize my list often. My list of debt is very exciting and helpful to me. When I felt like I was sinking in debt my first thought was make a list! My list made me feel like I was in control and having a plan aways makes me feel better. I am a big list maker!
I love lists. I make lists about which lists I need to make. Sometimes I think it’s strange of me (my life, stripped down to one-word “to-do”s) but I feel lost without them. Overwhelmed by all I want to do with them, certainly, but lost without.
Oh my goodness, YES! Lists/Flexible Routine both help me stay intentional with our time – and I love the feeling of accomplishment. Developing a Flexible Routine is good for everyone. And Menu Planning is a must for simplicity and the grocery budget!
I need lists. I don’t fuction well without lists. I am also very bad at making lists. It is something I need to get better at doing though.
Anastasia B says
I always find myself making lists, but I could live without them – if nobody expected me to be on top of my game! I haven’t made a menu plan in months though, and I feel okay without it.
I too am a list maker. I think your mental state affects how you view the idea of a list. There’s a sense of satisfaction as I “strike” items off the list – another one bites the dust! And then there are days when nothing goes right and they make me feel like I’ve gotten NOTHING done. On busy days they tend to keep me focused. And if you are ever “in charge” of a big project, keep a notepad in your pocket. Big projects involve so many details. If I thought of something or someone asked me about something important, making a note was insurance it wouldn’t get forgotten again. Yup, lists – you love ’em AND you hate ’em, but we can’t live without them.
I tend to be a list person. In the short term, when I am doing some sort of project (like a shopping trip or getting ready to leave on a trip), I’ll always make a list for that to make sure I don’t forget any steps/items.
A long-term list of “things I’m going to get to someday when I have time” does NOT work for me and only makes me depressed. I find that those things are stored in my mind anyway and don’t need to be written down.
There have been seasons of my life when I didn’t have a day-to-day list but only left myself occasional notes about remembering things to be done at a particular time. When my job turned back into full-time, and my son had just turned 4, and I was a Girl Scout leader, and I found myself really scrambling to avoid forgetting stuff, then it was time to start having a list again. It took me a while to find the right format for my life now (starting from a method I used in college) and to allow myself the right level of flexibility with it to be both productive and comfortable.
What I do now is to take a piece of paper that’s blank on one side and fold it in eighths. There’s one box for each day and one for “next week.” I usually set up my list on Sunday, but if things are very hectic, I may start filling in the one for the next week in advance. In each box I write things that happen at specific times in one column and other things I plan to do in the other column. Then I check off things as I do them and add things to the list as I think of them. If I don’t get to something on the day it’s listed but it has to be done ASAP, I circle it so it catches my eye. If I do something that’s not on the list, I write it and check it off, to add to my sense of accomplishment. 🙂 I have been known to write things like “play” or “love” or “rest” or “suffer” just to give myself credit for what I did instead of dwelling on what didn’t get done.
I love lists. Love love love them.
Also I love you Em!