I am a compulsive list maker.
I cannot function through a day without making and consulting several lists. I am not sure when this habit began, but I’m pretty sure that it was prior to the loss of my memory, which coincided with the birth of my last child. Now that my capacity to remember things on my own is gone, I rely on my lists from the moment I awake until I fall into an exhausted sleep at the end of the day.
One of the problems with my lists now that I have no memory is that I tend to lose them. I spend an inordinate amount of time searching for lost lists and making new ones once I resign to the fact that the old ones are gone. My daughter, who has a fetish for throwing things in the garbage, probably finds great joy in watching me search for lists that she has deposited in a grimy refried beans can.
Despite the obstacles I face in my list-making endeavors, I still rely on them to keep my life in some semblance of organization. In the morning, I make a list of what I need to accomplish during the day. Many times, I list things as simple as “shower” and “feed the kids.” It’s not that I would forget to do these things if I didn’t write them down; rather, I feel a great sense of accomplishment as I cross items off the list once they are accomplished. As any mother of young children will testify, taking a shower can be a major accomplishment.
At the end of the day, I use the list as a measure of my success. If I can still find the list by the time the kids are in bed, I feel extremely successful. If at least half the list is crossed off, it has been an exceptional day. I rarely cross everything off the list. I purposefully put more on the list than I could ever accomplish in a day so that I have a bit of a challenge. The remaining items are transferred to tomorrow’s list.
Aside from the daily lists and grocery lists, I have also taken to making a variety of other lists throughout the years. I have learned that if we go on an overnight trip, I must painstakingly list every single item that we need to take and cross it off as it is placed in the vehicle. Otherwise, crucial items such as a favorite blankie, diapers, or my own socks are sure to be forgotten in the rush.
When I go to town, I no longer just take a list of the items I need to purchase. I make a list of the items I need to take, a list of the places I need to go and a sub-list of what I need to do at each place, and a list of what I need to return home with.
Of course, the invention of sticky notes was a pivotal moment in my life. Now I can strategically place my lists at various points throughout my home. Unfortunately, they sometimes end up on the bottom of my shoe after a child borrows them from my desk.
My list-making may seem neurotic until you consider my sister, who purchases colored pens in order to color-code her lists.
I’m not sure if list-making is a genetic issue, but I do know one thing: the end of today’s list says “blog,” and I’m just a few words from crossing it off.
Monday, January 5, 2009
I am a compulsive list maker.