I love lists! In fact, I think I’m a listaholic.
For the love of lists.
There are two types of people in this world: those who like writing lists and those who don’t. In fact, in my experience lists are a bit of a ‘Marmite’ issue: you either love them or you hate them. People don’t seem to sit on the list-writing fence either, they tend to hold very strong views about the subject.
Well, let me declare my allegiance…I absolutely love lists: I love writing them; I love reading them and I have stayed up way beyond my bedtime on many occasions because I made the mistake of starting to watch one of those late night ‘Best 100 [fill in the gap]’ countdown lists on TV.
I know that everyone is entitled to their opinion but I do find it hard to understand why people wouldn’t want to write lists and wonder how they can get along without them.
I’m the list writer in our house. Richard doesn’t really ‘do’ lists outside of work, which is obviously unsettling for me as I have to hope that all of the required information is stored safely in his head, (I’m saying nothing).
When I try to pin down the reason why we differ in our attitude to lists it seems to boil down to how our brains are wired. You see, when I write a list, the task is transferred onto a bit of paper and isn’t preying on my mind anymore. I have released my task ‘into the wild’ so it’s no longer prowling around in captivity in my head and bugging me. I have to confess that I even have a pen and paper on my bedside table so that if something pops into my head before I fall asleep or keeps me awake, I can jot it down. It is no longer ‘on my mind’ but ‘on the paper.’ However, Richard doesn’t like to write lists because then all of the jobs he has to do are clearly written down for him to see. Instead of relaxing him, it tends to have the opposite effect.
For the list lovers out there I thought I would share some observations and tips. Who knows, I might even persuade some non-list writers to hop over the fence and see how green the grass is on our side. On the other hand, they may think I am a complete ‘nutter’ instead.
The ‘To Do’ list
This is one of the most essential lists of the lot. I don’t know how I would manage without my ‘to do’ list. I even have an ‘Errands’ App on my iPhone that allows me to store lots of different lists in different folders and tick items off when they have been accomplished, (What can I say? Love me, love my ways!).
I use my Errands App quite a bit but in my opinion you can’t beat the old fashioned pen and paper method. I have a few small notepads and pens that easily fit into my pocket or handbag so I can add to my list or cross things off it. There’s something very satisfying about striking through an item or task when you have completed it. I also cheat a little bit and break things down into subsets rather than one big task so I can cross more things off and feel that I have been even more productive. I also make no apologies for adding the following items to my ‘to do’ list from time to time to boost my morale, (thanks for the prompt, Facebook friends): already completed tasks; mundane tasks (go to work) and totally achievable tasks (eat, get dressed, breathe).
Richard knows me well and bought me a set of Caroline Gardner mini notebooks from John Lewis for Christmas and a couple of fabulous Kikkerland mini retro pens (with a touchscreen stylus on the end) which I think he bought from Amazon.
The Shopping list
Now, the weird thing is that although this seems a fairly important list to write, its the one I get a bit cocky about and think I can do without. But that’s when I return home with four tins of chopped tomatoes only to discover that my cupboard is rammed full of them. Or, I don’t check through my cupboards before I go shopping and I forget to buy bin bags and kitchen foil again. Why is it always bin bags and kitchen foil?
So one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to make sure I always write a shopping list so I don’t buy too much of something or miss anything essential. That’s where online grocery shopping can be really helpful. I know it’s a bit of a faff when you first register with an online supermarket because you have to build up an initial list of your usual groceries, but after that it’s a doddle. It also means you miss out so many tedious shopping stages: groceries into trolley; groceries onto conveyor belt; groceries into shopping bags; shopping bags into trolley; shopping bags into car; shopping bags into house. Although I don’t always manage to wangle free delivery with my online shopping, being more aware of what I buy and how much it costs can easily save me the delivery fee by not falling for impulse buys or the 2-for-1 offers advertised in-store! Keeping track of the cost of the items in my virtual shopping basket also helps me to stick to a budget: if the cost of my basket of groceries is too high I can easily remove non-essential items or swap them for lower cost alternatives.
The Christmas Gift list
Apologies for mentioning Christmas in January, but I wanted to share my tips for organising Christmas gifts. For the last few years I have been using the Better Christmas List App for the iPhone by Code Before Dawn to store my Christmas gift lists for friends and family and, more importantly, keep track of my spending. I thoroughly recommend the app and although I am sure there are a lot of other apps out there now that will do a similar job, this one works for me. In fact, it has made the whole Christmas gift shopping experience so much easier, especially now that I have my list of friends and family already populated when Christmas rolls around again.
The Better Christmas List App features include:
– Create separate groups for family, friends, work etc.
– Set and track budgets for groups or people
– Passcode feature to prevent prying eyes 🙂
– Intuitive icons let you see status at a glance
– Move old gifts into the archive each year
– Track what people received in years past
– Integrates with your address book for ease
– Colorful icons show who’s set and who’s not
– Shopping list – sort by store or by urgency
– Export your lists to send to others
Screenshots from Better Christmas List:
The ‘Bucket list’
I must admit I was taken aback when I picked Miss E up from school last week and she turned to me with a very earnest expression and said that she was going to write a ‘Bucket list’ and ‘write a novel’ would be the first item on her list. Did she know something I didn’t know? Was she already aware of her own mortality at nine years of age? After I got over my initial shock, (adding this example of how Miss E’s mind works to the growing pile of evidence that makes me suspect that she is actually an old person inhabiting a young person’s body), I realised that a bucket list can be viewed from two different perspectives:
- you can see it as a list of things you want to do before you die, or
- you can see it as a list of things you want to experience or do during your lifetime.
The difference between the two is subtle but important and I have to say that I prefer the second one. So what about my Bucket list? Well, you may be surprised to know that I haven’t really given that particular list much thought yet. I feel pretty blessed with my life and with the friends and family that populate it already. Nevertheless, I think I will add ‘write a bucket list’ to my ‘to do’ list!
Are you a ‘listaholic’ too?
So there you have it…A list of my lists! It isn’t even an exhaustive list of my lists. I’ve not included my Excel spreadsheet address list (geek!) so I can mail merge all of my address labels for my Christmas cards. Then there’s my ‘Blog Ideas’ list, (I promise that there is a ‘Homes and Interiors’ article on that list and I will post it soon!).
So, are you with me? Are you a listaholic too or am I alone on my little list-making island?
I’d love to hear your views and any tips you would like to ‘share with the group.’
I’m with you, almost anyway (maybe you should’ve kept that excel spreadsheet address thingy quiet though-now you’re on my ‘slightly-weird-person’ list!)
I hope you’re not really on an island… I don’t think Tesco deliver there! 😉
Great post-looking forward to the ‘home’ one.
Hey! What’s with the ‘slightly’! 😉
Brilliant post. I too must make lists but I decided not to do the online shopping list as my friend ended up with 1 mushroom and 1 potato!!!
Ha Ha! That kind of thing happens to me. I end up with one of those tiny tins of beans or a steak pie for one instead of a family-sized one! Gamble!
Having read your blog Jane, I haven’t got time to leave a message. Will add it to my ‘things to do list!’
I’m a list loving girl too.
Have you ever used night-time lists though?
You know those moments when the separate strands of your life resemble a bowl of over stretched and cooked spaghetti?
At those moments the quality of my sleep is often affected…that’s when I use night-time list writing (some call it a “thought bin” too) .
Basically it’s a place where you list (capture) random things that jump into your sleepless brain. And it WORKS. I’ve found it genuinely frees my brain and I don’t forget possibly important stuff, and helps me to sleep.
And trying to decipher hastily in the dark written notes is also amusing next morning!!
I do have a notebook and pen in my bedside drawer in case something pops into my head and stops me sleeping!
Oh Pa-lease. You call yourself a listaholic? (grin-grin). I have lists that describe the best way to make a list (daily list vs. weekly, monthly, etc.). My grocery list automatically sorts itself to the layout of the store where I choose to shop so I can do my shopping most efficiently. My motto is “There is nothing in the universe that cannot be described as list”. And that’s just the less nutsoid stuff. Now THAT’S a listaholic! ?
Brilliant! You win, Perry! Can you come and do my lists for me!!
Actually, yes I will…sort of. I’m a software developer and have been working on planning tool called “2nd Brain”. I refer to it as a GPS navigation system for your life. So, when it’s done, I will come to you, by way of my software and do all your lists for you.
Sounds intriguing! I wait to hear more.
I am also a listaholic. I am definitely going to give the Christmas list tips a go. Sonya