Another List for Me

I’m a list maker from way back.  The only way I can get through life is to keep a daily to-do list. Actually, I keep two.

List A is a grid I make using Word’s “table” function. The items on the list rarely change. They include grooming my four cats, riding the stationery bike, and writing blog posts. These items get checked off when accomplished.

List B is written on a legal pad, and the contents change as work comes up. Sometimes the list has 50 or 60 items I need to handle. My goal is to keep it down to ten, but that rarely happens. Once in a blue moon I can scratch off the last item–and scratch I do because this is a scratch off list, not a check off list.  Because I am constantly adding new chores and completing others, every few days I have to copy the “open items” to a new sheet of paper and throw away the old, messy one.

What do I like about living by these lists?  The main benefit is that once I add something to my list, I relax just a little bit inside.  Carrying around daily chores in my head is very difficult for me.  I find it stressful.  I certainly can’t think about writing if I keep my head filled with the mundane. So, instead, I put it all on my lists and then just pragmatically work my way through the lists.

The other benefit is that I love scratching off and checking off chores.  As I check or scratch, I say to myself in a very satisfied tone, “Yes!”

For the past few weeks, I’ve had a lot of extra business work and personal work, so I haven’t been able to get in much writing.  When I went to write yesterday, I found I couldn’t get one word on the screen–and that is really unusual for me.  I need to prime the pump again . . . somehow.

I’m going to try using my list making to help me get started writing again.

Here’s a preliminary list:

  1. Go through all my stories and scenes to sort for the book.  I hope to find a few scenes I’ve forgotten that I wrote.
  2. Find two  poem exercises that inspire me and write two poems. One has to be a doll poem.
  3. Finish the long play scene and do a first revision.
  4. Write a CNF short story that doesn’t take place in my childhood or youth.

Like all my lists, there is no deadline on accomplishing most of these items.

Lists are to reduce stress, not to cause stress!

List my cats: 1, 2, 3, um, where's #4?

List my cats: 1, 2, 3, um, where’s #4?


Filed under Creative Nonfiction, Essay, Nonfiction, Research and prep for writing, Writing

30 responses to “Another List for Me

  1. I have just two things on my (mental) list:
    1. Get up
    2. Go to bed.

    If I happen to get to work, that’s gravy!

    • Luanne

      Bahahahaha. If only I could be like that! Well, actually, if that’s all I had on my list that’s all I would do. That and candy crush.

  2. I’m the same, I am a great believer in lists and i have them at work, at home, for things I want to achieve at some point, for things I must do … I really don’t function properly without a good list and I love the satisfaction of crossing things off them 🙂

    • Luanne

      Exactly how I feel! I can’t imagine not having lists. It’s sort of like having a flash drive with data so i can keep my main drive free enough to think ;).

  3. Your cats are gorgeous!!! What color is the fourth one? I make lists too. Crossing the items off is satisfying and gives me a sense of accomplishment. Raises my spirits and I feel more in control of my life.

    • Luanne

      Mary! I’m so happy to see you! I love this: “Raises my spirits and I feel more in control of my life.” That is precisely how I feel about it. Lists are a marvelous invention. Thank you for the compliment about my cats. They are so beautiful. The fourth is a calico. Just adorable.

  4. jeannieunbottled

    I loved this post. Like you, I find making lists soothing, and scratching off items is also soothing. The list seems to organize one’s life or direct a flow of energy.

  5. Yes, I too am a list maker, and the best part is putting a line through the completed entry!

  6. I see that you like cats! Me too. Lists are good. I know what you mean about how good it feels to scratch things off the list.

  7. I’m a passionate list maker, too! I have started jotting down thoughts, ideas, creative “sparks” in a notebook for future writings. Then, I have the paper “To Do” lists~LOL! So~ after this comment, I need to start “doing!”

    • Luanne

      Yes, but once you get all the lists done you can have a clear head enough to start to “do”!! 🙂

  8. There’s nothing better than scratching a ‘to do’ off your list. I’ve lived the list-filled life for years, and it seems to keep my on point.

  9. Great to read about lists. I don’t really use them, but decided this morning to list 31 things to write about in August.. Thanks for your timely post.

    • Luanne

      Oh, neat idea. Are you going to work on one per day then?

      • I am going to shoot for a post a day and I need something to help me get there. I have found that writing things down really helps to get them done. If not my brain can run them around until I talk myself out of doing it.

  10. I love lists! I have lists for my lists. I get so much satisfaction checking things off, it’s a great feeling.

    • Luanne

      I love that feeling! I feel like kicking up my heels whenever I scratch something off! And then I obsessively count the number of items left to do ;).

  11. Luanne, are you looking to refuce stress? I’ve got another cat I can mail out 5o you!

  12. A cat moved in with us two years ago. My first relationship with a cat. I am still working out the details, but apparently our relationship is only about his wants and needs. I think he might be a narcissist. 🙂

  13. Luanne, you will think this is funny but I wrote a post about I am a lister of things! I cannot remember the date but I used Desiderata as a fine example of a list on how to live our lives. So, if you ever get bored, ha ha! you can look up my earlier post that has the “Desiderata” on it. The running subjects on the side of the page will take you to it! Great minds think alike, I came to find your “3 R’s” posting!

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