Are you a List-maker or List-less? If you’re not a ‘to-do’ scribbler, chances are you’re curled in the foetal position at the bottom corner of your yard or taking ragged breaths out of a brown paper bag. One major family event can send you the over the precipice of Just Shoot Me Cliff. Actually, it doesn’t need to be a major event. I’ve been seen running screaming from a messy house, having a panic attack over tax receipt gathering and lying in bed being overwhelmed by a toddler’s birthday. These ‘event’s’, in conjunction with a few regularly required, innocuous things as the ironing or going to do the food shopping, have at times been enough to turn my send my finite supply of grey cells into meltdown.
The first rule of mental health should be to learn to scribble things down. While your ‘ever so neat’ spouse might criticise you for the abundance of post-it notes and scraps of paper everywhere, at least he/she won’t have to pay for psychiatric counselling every time you go on holiday or host the extended family for Christmas at your place.
To save my tenuous grasp on sanity, I’ve become Queen List Maker.
If you’re a list-maker you probably feel quite sanctimonious at times. The satisfaction of listing – preparing your purchases, detailing your to-do’s, or brainstorming your birthday is often incomparable to the event itself. You probably walk around with a smug smile, knowing how cleverly you planned things. You possibly congratulate yourself on your preparation skills, maybe even compare yourself to some idiot who leaves everything to the last minute and forgets all those minor details that YOU have remembered and immortalised in bullet point.
Ah, so you’re quite the list maker. Me too. Some would say ‘control freak’. Others might say ‘anal’. Or ‘rigid’ and ‘inflexible’. ‘Overplanned’? ‘Unspontaneous’?
Oooooh, that’s a bit harsh. I often spontaneously add something to my list, hell…let’s just chuck a ‘block of chocolate’ onto the shopping list. The thing is, I can’t live without lists.
Take today, for example. I have the ever present shopping list. ….hang on, I’ll make a list of my lists:
- a shopping list
- a list of places I might visit when I go to Japan
- a list of important dates in the school calendar to mark in
- a list of TV shows I need to pre-record on foxtel
………………..and those are only the lists in front of me right now! In addition to that I have around the house:
- a list of things I’d better do in the next few days.
- a list of things to sell on ebay
- a list of people to phone
- a list of things to do for the estate I’m handling
- a list on my calendar
- a list of roads I should take my Learner Driver on
- a list of things to teach my painting class
- and a list of blog posts I could write….. I’m sure there’s more but I can’t think of them……………
………….and THAT’s why I need lists.
Lists take the place of your memory. I have a quite decent memory but there’s nothing like committing things to a list. It’s like cutting and pasting all the random documents out of your hard drive onto an external hard drive, then defragmenting. Yes, defragmenting your brain. I can clear space for the stuff that really matters after I’ve written a list. Get it? Clear out the ‘things I should buy for Christsmas’ out of my head and make way for the next exciting episode of Game of Thrones. I’m sure I couldn’t do both. While the Mother of Dragons was trying to get 1000 ships, I’d be worrying about how many packets of currants I need for the christmas cake. See?
It’s not that I can’t do plenty of things at once. I mean, my kids are always amazed at me typing away without looking at the keyboard, watching the news on TV, and carrying on a conversation with them, all at once. But really…that’s because I just made a list of what I need to get done in the next hour, so I have the brain space to do it.
You know what is the pits? It’s when you can’t read your own writing. I reckon I’ve got nice writing. Everyone else thinks it looks like a picket fence or just a bundle of u’s and w’s all linked together. (I tend to loop my n’s and m’s under like a ‘u’ instead of over.) This is quite unfortunate if you’re writing a word like marjoram. Does it read margerine or mangosteen or waugouauu?? Why can’t I just loop my m’s like normal people? If I write ‘normal’ it looks like ‘uouuual’. I can read it, usually, in context with what is around it, but other people find it impossible. I should have been a doctor.
I also often shorten words on my lists. This is ok if you know what ‘Fab Iron’ means. When you don’t it causes marital problems. He came home with Fabulon Ironing spray, I wanted Fab Iron tablets. He said I always shorten things so he thought that’s what I meant. Who irons with an ironing spray these days? I try to iron as little as possible and definitely not with spray. The resulting argument not withstanding, I had further questions to answer.
“What does ‘veg’ mean?” Vegemite? vegetables? vegetarian? or some new Swedish brand of butter. I wasn’t sure how to answer that, I couldn’t remember. THAT’S WHY IT WAS ON MY LIST!!!
“And what does Waunogotion mean? and Pouven and Granelll ?” I didn’t know. I’ll do the shopping next time. Like I had to say that.
Even my kids say “Don’t write me a list!” Dang it. That’s how you’re supposed to help boys, with lists. (You can apparently just tell girls, they apparently take it all in. Boys don’t, they need lists or they hear only the first thing and the last thing – if you’re lucky.) So now I have to say “OK boys, write this down…” and I dictate the list. They do know, however, that my ‘Mum’ signature reads like UUuuu. I think they quite like it.
Well this post has taken a slight 90 degree turn. I’ll veer back on topic. Lists….like, I can’t live without them.
I like my lists to be handwritten. I don’t get off on that moron Siri making my lists for me. She never does them right. At least I have SOME chance of reading my writing, I’ve got NO chance of deciphering hers! Looking at the last NOTE Siri last wrote me, it says “Cissus Shopping, O wrseas Gisfts, Picking slots, Khan notes, Sourdough gotta.
…O…K. Anyone got any ideas? Clearly Siri doesn’t like my ‘not very broad’ Australian accent. Fail Siri. Big. Big. Fail. I think I know what Khan notes is…I think it’s supposed to say Car Notes. No idea what the other things mean.
I like bullet points and hyphens. I get off on sub lists. I’m not much into numbered lists. That would be just too bossy. I also like colours if I’m really getting sorted. I have a House Jobs ‘to do’ list that’s colour co-ordinated. Some of my best lists are saved to the hard drive for re-use. My Christmas setup for example. My holiday packing list and my ‘to do at tax time’ list.
Next time you’ve got a major bottleneck of events, or find yourself dealing with too much make a GOYA list….Get Off Your Arse, still some nice bullet points in there and empty your brain into it. You’ll be so pleased when you can cross the first thing off “Make a list”. Ahhhh, that feels better.