It’s safe to say I am obsessed with lists. I love the numbers lined up neatly on the side of the paper, the sense of organization, the details of what needs to be accomplished. In all honesty, I never have just one list. I have multiple lists, all for different facets of my life. If you are a list-maker, you know what I mean.
This week, it turns out my lists were an illusion, a futile attempt to keep my life simple and organized. Sometimes the best-laid plans . .
I will never stop making lists, but after this week, I began to wonder: Do lists give us the illusion that we can accomplish more than we really can? Do they truly keep us on task? How many other people are list-makers? Are any of them famous? I did some research.
It seems lists are common among some very well-known, accomplished people, celebrities like Madonna, Ellen Degeneres, and Martha Stewart. But that’s not all, Benjamin Franklin was well-known for his lists, as were Thomas Jefferson and Charles Lindbergh.
I guess I’m in good company.
If famous people make lists, then they must know something the rest of us can learn from. They must know how lists can turn a hectic life into a simple and organized one. They probably also know that some weeks, even the grandest plans can go awry.
Because I love lists, I have created one just for you:
The top ten reasons I keep a list:
- They keep me organized. I have a list for each area of my life, including work, website tasks, and home chores. More than that, I keep lists of books I want to read, and movies I desire to watch.
- They help me remember. I don’t have to rely on my memory for all the things that need to be done.
- They keep my brain free for more important things. The less I have running around in my brain, the more I can focus on what needs to be done each day.
- I know what I have to do. No guessing, wondering, or thinking about it.
- I know what I have accomplished. I love crossing items off my list.
- It takes away stress. Less to think about equals less stress.
- It gives me peace. (Which only makes sense if there is less stress.)
- It gives me control. In a world that feels totally off-kilter sometimes, it’s nice to have a little control.
- It keeps me focused. I know what needs to be done, and I do it.
- I am less likely to procrastinate.
Yes, sometimes I wonder if lists make my life more complicated. It’s one more thing I need to do. But then again, without them, I wonder how much I would accomplish. I wonder if I would remember the twenty things that need to be done on my website, the people I need to call, or the essays I still need to write.
This week didn’t go as planned, but that won’t stop me from making lists. The pieces I didn’t get done this week are just transferred to next week, and I don’t even have to think about it.
I will always love lists.
Are you a list maker?