Monday, November 9, 2009
List-Making: A Double-Edged Sword
I am the queen of list-making. You can ask anyone in my family. It’s a habit I’ve been plagued with my whole life. As a child, I had Christmas lists. As a preteen, it was a list of what I expected to receive and from whom on my birthday. (My dad totally ratted me out on this one. Thanks.) In my teens, I’d moved on to packing lists. I’d have my list of what to pack for summer camp made in March.
Sometimes, lists are wonderful. I keep a running grocery list, and when we run out of something, I can add to it so when it comes time to make the weekly trip, I’m not standing dumbfounded in the middle of the store, trying to recall what it is that I need. When we go on vacation, I always have a big, bold absolutely do not forget these things list to double-check as I walk out the door, because never again do I want to leave behind the cell phone charger, portable DVD player, pack and play, etc. This time of year, I have a Christmas card list and a gift list, so when I get that perfect gift idea, I don’t forget and end up giving something sub-par.
Other times, the lists are just a nuisance. Our house has gotten into such a state of disarray that we now have the big around the house To Do list. There are closets to clean out, cabinets to reorganize, clothes the kids have outgrown that need either to be shipped off as hand-me-downs or taken to Goodwill, leaves to blow out of the yard, wasp nests to remove from the patio umbrella, and it goes on and on. Probably, if we spent a day dedicated to the list, we could strike everything off. Each item on its own would not take much effort to accomplish. But the list has a mind of its own. It keeps getting longer, and the sheer length of it, not necessarily the size of the mundane tasks on it, is daunting. The list itself is now causing me to procrastinate. It’s so big, I feel I can’t tackle it. I probably need to toss the list in the trash and just do what needs to be done as it occurs to me, but it’s going to be tough to part with that darn list.