I am a perpetual list maker. Without my lists, I fear my life would fall apart. I write to-do lists, shopping lists, reading lists. In fact, the list is endless. (Ha, ha) My list making is a constant source of amusement to my boyfriend. Near the beginning of our relationship, we went camping, and my list freak side was unleashed. That he is still around, is nothing short of a miracle.
I have a big to-do list, with all my big projects, this is accompanied by my daily to-do list and my project to do lists. Each project has their own list, with everything broken down. I make shopping lists, lists of books I plan to read, lists of birthdays and potential gifts. It is in danger of spiralling out of control.
I wasn’t always like this, but, as dramatic as this may sound, lists changed my life.
Well, I don’t think of myself as a particularly scatty person, but I’m surrounded by distractions. I can be in the middle of something, when the toddler wees, or someone knocks on the door, in that instant, I forget what I was doing. I used to be surrounded by half finished jobs. Ugh.
List-making also makes life seem more manageable. It’s easy to panic and feel overwhelmed by what you have to do. Not knowing where to start, you can end up not getting started at all. Writing it down in front of you, cuts it into bite sized chunks.
It helps measure success. There are days where I don’t feel like I’ve done much, but a look at my to-do list, all highlighted, says different. With each item I cross out, I feel more determined and want to do more.
My list rules
Be kind to yourself
Add a few easy things. Yes, I have been known to write ‘Make coffee’ and ‘get dressed’ on my list. Crossing them off makes a good start and spurs me on to do more. Plus, sometimes just those two things feel akin to climbing Everest.
Make sure you do the most important things first. Work out what won’t kill you if you leave it until tomorrow.
Break it into chunks
Don’t put something vague like ‘Write a Friday flash’ on your list. That’s a long job and can overwhelm. Instead, break it down into smaller pieces, such as: plan Friday flash/ draft friday flash/brainstorm ideas…
Don’t overdo it. A to-do list spanning five sides of A4 isn’t going to work. I’ve started writing my daily lists first thing in the morning rather than the night before like I used to. Nighttime Emma seems to think she’s Superwoman or something. Try and strike a balance between challenging yourself and overfacing yourself.
I write more than just to do lists, verging on compulsive.
Packing lists, shopping lists etc mean you don’t forget anything. I am a nightmare for going to the shops for milk and coming back with everything but. That’s where lists come in again.
I have a list of books I want to read, to keep me organised. Having these lists keeps me focused. It means I no longer have all this information and details rushing around my head which makes me calmer and gives me more headspace to think of better things. Well, in theory anyway.