Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Making a List - and Checking It Off Twice

I like lists.  I can honestly tell you I like them a lot.  When I have a burst of excitement and think of all the things I need done, it is nice to jot them down so I can forget about it and just refer to my list.

I hate lists.  I can honestly tell you I hate them.  I look at lists and see the glaring proof that I have a ton of unfinished activities.  The horror of never ending tasks can be overwhelming.

Lists are a part of life.  People have different types of lists, some use a piece of paper, some their computer, some use sticky notes, some write on the backs of envelopes.  Some lists are neatly written with one pen and others have multiple pens/pencils/crayons and lipsticks. Lists record the things in our lives we don't want to forget, the things we want to accomplish, the details we need to manage. The bad news is that lists can control our live.

So what do we do about it?  How do we manage all the details and information if we don't make a list?

When it comes down to it, the problem isn't the list, the problem is the list maker.  Look at why you write a list.  Is it a way to force yourself to accomplish more, or is it an easy stress free method of keeping track of future needs and goals?

Do lists keep you sane or do they drive you to distraction? Do you get more accomplished by writing it down, or do you just resent it? Take a minute to think about your relationship with the lists in your lives.

Personally there are a few things in my life which require a list.  Grocery lists are a top priority.  If I don't have one I end up making multiple trips, or I end up with a ton of junk food.  I also need errand lists.  When I step out of the house and head off to get things done, I hate arriving home without doing what I intended to do.

On the other hand, housework lists make me sad.  The dishes always need to be done, as does the laundry. Knowing about it just makes it worse. While Honey Do lists are nice, they aren't very effective in my house.  I need more of a "Magical Elf" List.  You know what I am talking about, the list of things the elves need to take care of so I can forget about it.

When I do have a list I love to cross things off.  I mean I REALLY love to cross things off.  I usually do it twice. I put a check or an X next to the item and then I put a big line or two through it.  I love the sense that I have finished a task.

So now I want you to look in the mirror and take a deep gaze into your soul.  What is your relationship with lists?  Do they help you or hinder you?  Can you look at a list as a way to mark your accomplishments, or do you see unfinished tasks? Do you see success or failure?

Here is your official pep talk.  You are great, list or no list.  What you accomplish is just fine.  Tomorrow you will do more, the day after that even more. Your life is a string of activity, today will be what today is.  Take a deep breath and know you did what you could...and when your are finished, mark it off your list...twice.

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