Wednesday, June 17, 2009


I'm not a list maker.

I don't make lists. Ever.

Ok, so that's not entirely true. I make a grocery list before I go to the "maahket" - especially now while I'm in the process of writing and photographing my recipes, and I make a quick packing list before we go on vacation.

I swear every time we go on vacation that I will make a permanent packing list - like one that isn't scribbled on an envelope at 10pm the night before we leave, but one I can refer to each time we go away. I never do.

So, other than those two exceptions, I don't ever make lists.

Lists taunt me. They taunt me with how much is undone, unclean, unread, unorganized, unpurchased, unplanned.

Un, un, un, un, un. Lists just speak too many "uns" into my Crazy Momma life.

And, while I suppose actually completing things on a list (which I believe you list makers refer to as "crossing them off"?) might make me feel accomplished and productive, most days, months, and years I complete so little of what I set out to do to that I rarely feel that way.

So, I'm gonna throw this one out to you all:

Do you make lists? What do you make lists of? Do you scribble them on paper, keep them on a computer, phone, palm of your hand? Do you have multiple lists going at the same time? And, lastly, how do lists help you?

I'm "list"ening.

Ouch, I know that was painful. My sincere apologies.


  1. You make me smile.

    I am a serious list-maker. I make lists for everything. They make me feel like I've accomplished something. I love "crossing off" items on my list. And sometimes I cheat and put a few things on the list that I've already done so I can cross them off. ;)

    I have a computer print out for my grocery list, menu planning, daily routine/chores. I have written lists for trips but like you, I've always wanted a permanent one, and have never gotten around to it.

    I love having a list. It keeps me on task. I know what I have to do for the day and when my list is complete, I can laze about the rest of the day. ;)

  2. I make lists. Sometimes on backs of envelopes, sometimes on cute Curious George tablets I got in the $1 bin at Target.

    I make lists to give myself a goal, a target, and to make me feel productive. BUT I don't make a daily to do list. I write down things that I've been wanting to tackle and know that now is the time to do it b/c it is driving me crazy. I write em down, then I look at it and get realistic... typically it is a weekly list. Not that I sit down every Mon and make a list for the week... but when I get that "Ah, I need to get things in order, that cupboard is totally bugging me" feeling, then I write it all down and say... ok, tackle that in your free minutes this next week (or two). I don't try to do it all in a day... that sets me up for failure, this builds in grace.

    I also do lists for grocery shopping and packing.

    And like Jessica I sometimes add things I've already done to make me feel better.

  3. I'm a list maker. Grocery store and packing list, yes. I also do job lists and things I want to get done list - it feels great to cross things off of those lists!

  4. MAKE THAT STANDARD PACKING LIST!! I have one for myself and one for Elizabeth, and since we're going to Anna's this weekend I'll be making another one for Abigail today. I cannot begin to tell you how much stress that has saved at packing time (and on the way, knowing I didn't forget anything). For this absentminded appropriately-hair-colored Mama, it's a lifesaver. Especially because I can hand Elizabeth's list to Brett (who is amazingly competent when it comes to stuff like this) and he can take care of it for me.

    You would faint if you saw my grocery list. Seriously, you'd be on the floor. Maybe I'll email it to you just for kicks. For now I'll just say it's in an Excel you an idea, right?

    I also just started making a list of all my cleaning chores, broken up into smaller chunks so I can do a little at a time and cross things off instead of exhausting myself going through the whole house at once. We'll see how that works.

    I keep a weekly to-do list in my daytimer and plug in the tasks onto specific days as they come up. It really does feel good to cross things off, knowing that at least the most important things got done.

    I make lists because if I don't I get overwhelmed and I am not pleasant to live with (ask Brett - his biggest nightmare is an overwhelmed wife). It gets stuff out of my head and onto paper where I can see and deal with things one at a time. And for the most part it gives me a sense of peace that I'm not forgetting something important. Absentmindedness is the bane of my existence.


  5. I have my grocery list on the computer - it was organized by the aisles of our Walmart, but they've recently rearranged things, so I need to fix my list. (I wrote down what was listed on each aisle marker, and filled in items I buy in those aisles.) I made the list up when I had my first baby - I kept coming home without the "one thing" I went for, so the list was to prompt me for things I might have forgotten to write down, but mostly so that I would remember the essentials. I thought it was because I had "baby brain", but my kids are almost 6 and 4 and I still can't remember things.

    I have a packing list for trips on the computer, but I need to update that, too. My kids no longer need bottles, formula or diapers. :0S I have a space for checkmarks, and on the way home I cross things off as I repack. I leave a blank line in front of clothing items so I can fill in the number of days or items needed.

    I make other lists on the computer, too, but not for everyday things - for things like VBS, party planning, Christmas, etc.

    It takes a little time and trial and error to find a list that works, but in the end I save myself brain cells and frustration over forgotten things.

    I use Excel to make my lists, and I try to fit the list to half a "landscaped" page.

  6. Okay, I really thought that I was highly organized with my lists (usually scribbled on post-it notes) until I read these comments. These ladies are organized! I do, however, keep a pretty detailed home improvement wish list for my husband. I am obsessed with it-always adding more things. He is not a big fan of that list, but he diligently completes each one and I love crossing them all off!

  7. Not a list maker. I have a grocery list app on my iTouch that is a life saver, but that is it. You can print off a packing list from some website. I blogged about it once, but I don't remember where it is exactly. Google it. Otherwise lists just stress me out :)

  8. yes, i am a list maker. even though i feel they help me stay organized, i often find that the list-making is more therapeutic than anything. lately, i have not made many lists simply b/c i've been too busy to sacrifice the time it takes to actually put pencil to paper (don't ask me why i like my lists in pencil - maybe they are less permanent that way)... so much so that when it occurs to me to begin a list, the first thing i write is often "make list." sad. so sad. can't believe i admitted that.

    and, to answer your question, my lists stay in a spiral notebook that i use for random information pertaining to my life. a book of lists, if you will.

  9. Lists just make me feel like I'm locked into a box - I have to do the things on that stupid list before I do anything else. I would rather spend my time just being and living rather than doing and checking things off. Probably relates to my hatred for efficiency. I don't hate lists. I loathe lists. Thank you for not being a list maker.

  10. I make a Huge over arching long term goal list. Paint kitchen, make bread. that sort of thing that way when they get done I feel good crossing it off, but if it doesn't get done for weeks its OK because its "long term"

  11. I am A BIG fan of lists. I make them for everything.
    You'd think my perfectionism would cause me to feel bad if I don't cross everything off, but for some reason, I'm ok with leaving them on my list until they get done.

    I write my lists in a spiral notebook. When I have everything crossed off a page I just rip that page out. It is very satisfying to get down to the last page of my book, makes me feel like I've conquered the world.
    I know I'm weird :)

  12. I am definitely a list-maker. I am also an engineer so I like things to be as efficient as possible...I hate rewriting the same lists over and over again.

    Most of my lists are repeating tasks that I keep in plastic page protectors. I use a vis-a-vis markers to cross off each task. I can just use a damp paper towel to clean the plastic and start crossing things off again the next day.

    Here are some of the lists I keep in my binder:

    Daily Routines (feed the dog, take your medicine, etc.)

    Weekly Cleaning (toilets, floors, dusting, etc.)

    Monthly Cleaning (room by room breakdown similar to FlyLady)

    Yearly Cleaning (spring cleaning that I spread out through the year)

    Grocery Shopping (a list of the most common things we buy with space to add other things we need)

    I have made a control journal somewhat modeled off FlyLady with my lists. It is all saved in a Word document so I have considered putting it on the web if it could help other people.

  13. i am just like you... i never make lists except for the rare exception, like things i need to buy and do for a major event.

    and my reasons are the same as yours.

  14. Ah, lists, glorious lists. I use them all.the.time.

    Besides the obvious ones you've mentioned, I also make lists for Christmas cards, birth announcements, gift ideas for myself and for others (for the life of me, when my MIL asks what I want for an occasion, I am blank....not anymore since I have my list!). Lists are also good for books I want to read, vacations I want to take, and letters I want to write. I love looking through cookbooks and making a list of all the recipes I want to try. I remember my mom even had a book where she would list what she made for holiday dinners or when she had people over so she wouldn't make the same thing for the next event. Lists keep my thoughts and life organized, and I love them...

    Now, for where they are...some are on scrap paper, some are in my computer, some have a book all of their own, and my sheet for my daily chores (used as a rough idea, not something that oppresses me) is hanging on my fridge.

    And yes, "crossing out" is the correct term, and it is glorious!

  15. I am a die-hard list maker. Grocery lists, activity lists, packing lists, gift lists...yup. Guess that's the accountant in me.

    Now, what did I do with that to-do list? LOL

  16. I am most definitely a list maker. Especially when work gets absolutely insane and I haven't a clue where to start. I make a list and suddenly it's all crystal clear and the stress subsides a bit.

    I also make a grocery list and I write it in the order of how the store is arranged. Makes for an efficient shopping trip.

    I make packing lists for trips so that I don't forget anything and also so that I don't over pack.

    And there's just something encouraging and rewarding about being able to cross an item off my list!

  17. Oh Sarah. Sarah, Sarah, Sarah... You know how to bring out the comment, doncha?

    Alright (rolling up my sleeves...) I'm game for your zinger question:

    Do you make lists? Yes. But not in a neat, orderly way. They're more like random scribbley thoughts on a piece of paper.

    What do you make lists of?
    I do have one grocery list that is made in the order of the grocery store aisles. That one is awesome. Other than that, not really. Oh... one for vacations so I don't forget stuff.

    Do you scribble them on paper, keep them on a computer, phone, palm of your hand?
    I have a day planner that I use,but not in the way that they want me to use it. Very messy.

    Do you have multiple lists going at the same time?
    I don't think so.

    And, lastly, how do lists help you?
    Well, they help me put to rest my mind when I keep rehashing something. They don't make my list completely organized and perfect though.

  18. I just read what Jason wrote. Love it.

  19. I do tend to be organized. I never really got into lists so much because my mind could handle it. I really need goals each day and if I don't make a mental list I feel like I have reason to let things slide which I do way more now than when I had three little kids. I ran a tight ship, LOL.

    Life is short, but I keep striving to be that Proverbs 31 woman. Ugh, why I try I'm not sure cuz I'll never be all that she was.

  20. I'm a list maker. I would be so lost if I did not have my Agendus computer program tracking everything for me, from reminding me to clean the microwave to reminding my client "Bill" to pay his credit card on the 30th. Is it OCD? Um... yeah. But it works really well for me!

    But, ironically, the lists are so that I CAN be more in the moment. Cause I agree with Jason - that's the point.

    But, I found that for me personally, without the lists to keep me focused, I'm either worrying about the things I keep forgetting to do, or I'm spending my time doing things that don't matter instead of making sure I take the time to do the things that DO matter.

    But I'll confess that I have do have days when I ignore my list totally, cause it's being bossy. ;)

  21. Lists? I guess I do both. If I have a lot of errands to run and I know I have certain things that I need to get and places to go, then I make lists. Grocery lists and menus...definitely. Other than that, no, I don't make lists. I guess because by the time I make the list, with the little ones, I feel like I've lost good cleaning or organizing time. Although, I do have a list of vacation items to pack for August started on my fridge. :)

  22. You are too funny. I just love your posts. I, similar to you, am not a list maker. I actually made a list of things to do before this baby comes, and I feel under pressure every time I go by the refrigerator and see it. However, I suppose if I did do more lists I might get more accomplished....or I might just feel unaccomplished (depending on whether or not I got it done!)

    For now I think I'll stick to my scatter brained planning and just claim I didn't have a list if things didn't get accomplished.

  23. Hi,
    I was just looking back at comments on a blog I did a long long time ago and there was a comment from you. I didn't recognize the name so I came here to check it out.
    I feel about the same way you do about making lists. I make grocery lists sometimes but half of the time I forget to take the list with me and I have to try to remember what was on it. My Hubby is a list maker. He makes a list for everything. I'm glad he's so organized. I'm afraid I'm not.