Anyone who knows me, knows I’m a list maker. Through and through. I sometimes wonder if I came out of the womb making a list. It would have looked something like this:
I make lists for virtually every part of my life. At work, I have a To Do list. This list has a system, which for any of you who may have trained with the Franklin Covey plans in the old days, may look a bit familiar. An arrow pointing to the item means a priority. A check mark next to it means in progress; an X means partially done, waiting on someone else. And, my favorite part, the cross out signifying completion. I love that cross-out. Yes, I caught myself today adding an item that I was about to do, just so I’d have the satisfaction of the cross-out. My work to-do list often has sub-lists for certain projects, priority items and activities. Every Friday afternoon at work I re-write and organize my list for Monday.
Home is not safe from the Queen List Maker either. And both my husband and son are used to this. If I didn’t make lists, I’m sure they would rush me to the hospital for evaluation. I think this stems from my very practical mother who managed our family of six by our bible, the calendar. We all remember the golden rule “if it’s not on the calendar, it doesn’t exist.”
There is a list/plan on my refrigerator of meals for the next 2 weeks. Subject to change of course, but it allows me to easily plan not only my shopping, but my meal prep every night. Of course there is the grocery list, written in order of the store. When planning for trips, either big trips or short road trips, I compile a list for packing and preparation. Weekends? Oh, yes, lists of chores to accomplish, calls to make, errands to be run, and a “honey-do” lists for my dear husband. Then there is the long-range project list for the house – big things, like paint the foyer, clean out closets, get railings for the front porch, finalize Wills.
Those of you out there who are not list makers are probably shocked and appalled and wonder why any woman would be so anal-retentive to list out her life. To me, lists make me feel calmer, more organized, give me a sense of productivity and accomplishment – and bottom line, as I get older and life gets busier, they help me avoid forgetting something.
I had the pleasure a few years ago of attending a women’s conference where the keynote speaker was actress Rita Moreno. She was fabulous. In her presentation, she talked about aging, the importance of keeping your mind sharp, and the value in doing mental exercises as you age. One exercise she suggested was that when you need to go to the store to pick up a few things, try memorizing what you need to get rather than writing it down. But don’t try to remember the words, remember the first letter the words start with, which is easier, and will trigger the word. For example, if you need to buy milk, carrots, tissues and strawberries, remember m, c, t and s – in whatever order makes sense to you. Then in the store, recall those letters and what they stand for. In a valiant attempt to put down my pen and paper, I have tried this. And it does work – to a certain extent. But for me, I am too distracted by opportunity – for example, I’d get the milk, then think “c…that was for carrots…but it also stands for cookies… we really could use some cookies – oh, and last time I made some cookies, we were almost out of vanilla, so I better get that too….” So halfway down the aisle I was reaching for my pad to jot down all these extra items, and forgetting all about t and s.
I have come to accept that I am a list fanatic, and embrace it. Oh, and yes, dear readers, I even carry a list in my purse of future blog posts I want to write.
Hey, guess what? I get to cross this one off now!