Thursday, July 14, 2011

Too Much To Do Lists

"There are people who never make lists, relying upon their memories or upon their friends' reminders; there are people who do make lists, but grudgingly and without relish, as a means to an end, like a Puritan making love; and there are people to whom making lists is an end in itself, a pure, abstract and never-failing delight." Jan Struther - in Try Anything Twice
Are you a list maker?  I am.  I have a long term job list that gets transferred over time to my to-do list.

But, over the last few weeks I have had pause for thought over my list-making habits.  It all started with this post on to-do lists on Mommy Coddle.  Molly revealed how she has learnt to "keep my to-do list extremely short. Because it will fill itself up on its own, even if I haven't written everything down.  And so each day I confine my to-do list to three. Usually, these are the three tasks that are really nagging on me. "  The three tasks are her priority and the remaining jobs either happen on automatic, or because there is a glaring reminder.  Like, my two huge washing baskets of folded laundry that need to be put away.

I have tried Molly's method with great success.  I have, in the past, tended to make my to-do lists impossibly long, with grand sweeping tasks like "do tax".  This tasks is much better broken down to its elements.  Like "collect paperwork", "follow up x" (inevitable isn't it?), "make tax appointment" etc.  But, what of the 3 item list?  I tell you, it is so freeing.  Yesterday my 3 item list consisted of: write thank you for book, polish shoes and finish christmas napkins.  They were all done, mostly because they only took a matter of minutes.  I was flushed with accomplishment.  No need to put the laundry loads on the list - I walk past the basket, the floor that needs to be vacuumed - the dust bunny's are ample reminders and the floor where Ginger dropped her half eaten grapes - I stick to it.  Those tasks all get done because they are in my face anyway.

So, what sort of to-do list maker are you?


  1. Sporadic I think. Some days will be all about crossing things off my 'list'. Other days, oh what list?

  2. I am hearing you - DH is away at the moment, but as soon as he is home it will be all systems GO with preparing and organising (oh and dreaded toll inventories!)
    My lists seem to haunt me some times and others I seem ontop of it. I like to write and tick and highlight (maybe that is the teacher in me????)
    I like the idea of three things - I could manage that - I am going to start it tomorrow.

  3. I like the literary aspect of list making. Our lists can reveal a lot about our originality. I write lists in my journal now and then and I am greatly entertained (and encouraged!) when I revisit them!

  4. Send me an email (mealyandi at hotmail dot com) and we will organise a meet up:) Yes, he is also at TS - fingers crossed this is the last of the bush and courses for the year.
    You will like Darwin - I wish that we were heading back with you instead of to the freezing cold:) It really is not as bad as everyone makes out (I do have a few stories and hints for you)
    x Kylie