Confessions of a List Junkie

I like lists.

  1. The way the original cookie monster likes cookies.
  2. The way cats like napping.
  3. The way little kids like markering their own face.

When I posted my math formula, I had some questions about how much time I devote to each aspect of my life. I’m not ashamed to say that I dedicate at least 1 point of my day to planning the rest of the day.  In fact, some days are scheduled and set aside just for list making.

I have lists everywhere.  There’s always one in my pocket and one on my computer desktop.  There’s usually two on my wall and I carry around two notebooks full.  Lists are plentiful in my life.

  1. The way sand is plentiful in the desert
  2. The way written words are plentiful in a library
  3. The way pebbles are plentiful on a long gravel road

The lists are about all sorts of things– varying from time-sensitive, incredibly practical needs, to far off dreams and silliness.

  1. My grocery list is updated twice a week
  2. My hobby management list is updated twice a month
  3. My list of famous art that would be better with a unicorn is updated as needed
Changes the whole thing, doesn't it?
Changes the whole thing, doesn’t it?

The problem is, all these lists make most of the lists ineffective.  The process of checking off a list item inevitably only makes the list longer.  All my lists are on different sizes of paper, and sometimes not even paper, and all of that is wedged in a notebook.

  1. Some are written on the backs of receipts
  2. Some are written on napkins
  3. Some are written on loose ribbons

When you open up one of my notebooks, it looks a little something like this:

What? I'll get to it eventually...
What? I’ll get to it eventually…

I’m constantly inventing new ways to make lists.  I have a special hole puncher, that goes to a special notebook, specifically designed for the organizational templates that I’m always so excited by.

The type of list that receives the brunt of my insanity innovation are the ones for groceries.

  1. Programmer style. “If you buy low-carb pasta from store X, then buy Parmesan cheese.”
  2. Mom style.  “Monday meal plan says to buy these 5 items.”
  3. Bachelor style.  “I got $20 in my pocket…”

I keep an on-going grocery list on my virtual post-it note program, subject mostly to my cravings– which is to say, it’s just a confusing list of different types of cheese.  I type a variety of things into my virtual post-it note of joy.

  1. My contact information, for easy access
  2. My ethical and practical problems with underwear
  3. Post ideas that would be better for guest posts than my own blog

I also pre-type my comments to you in this post-it note program.  This way, if I am distracted on my journey through the ‘net, I don’t forget that I started a comment to you.

Recently, my brain malfunctioned and I copied and pasted a little more than just my comments.  Yes, I copied and pasted my lists into the comments.

It was pretty hilarious and mortifying all at once, especially as WordPress doesn’t give you the ability to edit comments.  I didn’t know what to do.

  1. Pretend it was a deliberate cheese-based haiku with impressively difficult to understand meaning.
  2. Pretend the post triggered thoughts about underwear.
  3. Admit to being a junkie.

I finally erred on the side of truth, and fessed up.

I’m addicted to lists.  They fall out of my pockets and escape from my keyboard.  They tumble out of my mind and into everything I do and they only seem to grow year after year.  I have no excuse, or explanation.  I only know that I feel like I’m organizing the world, mapping my dreams, and catching my errant firefly-like thoughts. 

It wouldn’t be so bad if I was actually checking items off the list regularly.  I’m sure I could figure out a way to make that happen, though– I just need a good, comprehensive list of plans….

___________________________________________________

Are you a list-maker, too?  What’s your grocery shopping method?

All my favorite people participate
in #ForThePromptless10/9 – 10/15 – “Season 3, Episode 10: Shopping List”

88 thoughts on “Confessions of a List Junkie

  1. I am your arch-nemesis, the Wizard of Wing-It…I know I should make lists if things to do, things to buy, things to remember, but I always have sufficient hubris to know that I’ll be OK and will just remember all the important stuff and, well, just wing it…and we live 40 kilometres from our nearest life support so the penalties for failed wing-it-ness can be quite severe…

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    1. Ha! I married a Wizard of Wing-It, so I understand. I have to admit that I enjoy basking in the sunlight of “We’ll be fine, don’t worry about it.”– but it doesn’t stop me from making a list. 🙂

      Just in case!

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  2. I used to have lots of lists too. Now pretty much my only list is for food shopping (and a list at Christmas so no-one gets forgotten). I have discovered as I have gotten older that if I have stuff written down I have to do it and that stresses me out 😦

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    1. See, I’m unburdened by the idea that the list needs to get done. It only needs to be written, haha… of course, that’s why I still have lists from 3 years ago in my notebook…

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  3. I love making lists, too! Especially books I want to read. I’m using apps like goodreads, library thing etc. I tell myself they’re not reliable so I turn to making lists, instead. Haha!

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    1. Yay! A fellow list addict! 😀 Strangely, book lists are about the only ones I don’t make, since I usually just rely on tossing as many books as my bookbag will hold when I’m at the library. Getting through GoodReads and adding all the books I’ve read is on one of my lists, though… I’d love to see the books I’ve read all organized one day. It’d be awesome.

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  4. I join you in the list-a-thon. If it doesn’t go on a list, I’ll either forget it, or worry constantly that I’ll forget it. Writing it down eases my mind. But I have corralled my urge to make multiple lists. The “everything” list is on my computer, and the grocery list is handwritten, so I can take it with me. This list thing is my mother’s fault. She extolled the virtues of lists, and when she enthused about how great it was to cross things off the list, I was hooked. btw, everything’s better with a unicorn in it 🙂

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    1. It’s the worrying that gets me, 🙂 I hope I’d remember the important stuff I need to do or get, but I’d probably be so worried about forgetting that my mind would blank. 🙂 I do love crossing things off lists… it’s a pretty wondrous feeling!

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  5. Haha I definitely agree that more famous paintings should contain unicorns! Everything needs more unicorns.
    I tend to make a mental list and plan in the morning of things I need to do as I always lose physical lists. The only things I really write down are ideas for blog posts.

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    1. Right?! 🙂 It changes the whole tone when you add a unicorn to something.

      I’m surprised I don’t lose lists, since I lose most everything else… 🙂

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  6. Love love love lists!! I love the idea of the hole punch idea and may have to be inspired by that one (notice I didn’t use the word ‘steal’… Much too negative!)
    I have lists in my iPad calendar, my iPad notes, my diary, my head… Almost everywhere you have lists by the sounds of it.
    So last night when my iPad just stopped working, I thought I had lost some of my lists. Not so, hubby fixed it. Phew, that was close 😉

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    1. Haha, yay! I love the notebook system from Staples– Arc notebooks. That’s the hole punch I have, and I swear by the notebooks. My list system has been 100 times more simple since converting, and I’ve started to check things off at double the speed, just because it’s easier to use. Haha, well. Obviously you can tell I’m a fan. 🙂

      As to your lists— thank goodness for the hubby!! 😀

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  7. I’ve never been a “lister”, I’m a “jotter”. I write down single words or phrases to kick start my lack of short term memory – beyond that (aside from the occasional grocery list) I let the chips fall where they may. We used to go on long road trips – I’m talking 3 or 4 weeks driving; across Canada, Vancouver to Chicago, whatever struck our fancy. We had 3 rules – no major highways if possible, no fast food, and most importantly – no destination or reservation for the night. Simply jumping in the car, stopping as often as we liked, changing routes if the spirit hit us and going away from home for half the allotted time then turning around and driving back by another route. That sort of describes how I live my life.:)

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    1. My lists are more “jots” in actually. The unicorn painting was listed as “VG star”– which if you’re me, you know means Van Gogh’s Starry Night… but if you’re not, who knows?! 😀 I love the joy in your explanation of your vacation strategy, but I have a feeling I’d be hyperventilating in the corner of the car 5 minutes into the trip. 😉

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  8. Grocery list: I add stuff when I run out, and then on my weekend run I’ll stare into the refrigerator for about ten minutes waiting for the low-supply items to self-identify.

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  9. $100 Million + Van Gogh painting… and you put a “Unicorn” on it. Well.. I do hope you have a “Cleaning Solvent List”.. LoL..
    Nice post… I’m a list maker also.. I list all the different types of procrastination I simply MUST get done throughout the day. Sadly.. (happily)..I never get it all done.. there’s always some left for the following day. In my retirement, there’s just so much of nothing to do… and only all day to do it. I must follow my timing list more closely. 😉

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    1. “there’s just so much of nothing to do… and only all day to do it.” – ha! I completely understand that. 😀

      I think Van Gogh would approve of the unicorn. It adds a certain flair. 😉 Haha!

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  10. You must *really* like lists…your post is full of them! Hehehehe.
    I love planning too!! But once I plan I don’t do anything about it…I just go with the flow. I just plan for the joy of planning..the colours, the stickers, the thought process, the imagining of my life being structured and how efficient I am ….the imagining tires me out..hehehe.

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      1. Haha! Yay for unicorn fans, 😀 I do really like lists, though I also love people who don’t love lists. It’s good to have a mix of us around! 🙂

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    1. Haha! *high five* As fanciful as they are, unicorns add a sense of purpose to any of the fine art paintings I’ve tossed them in. It’s a weird mental trick that I’m endlessly fascinated by. 😀

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  11. Go in youtube and search “lists, tales of mere existence” You’ll be glad you did. I have problems with lists myself, everytime I make one things get done, but I can almost never remember to do so and thus I recall little and remain unorganized. Lost within a sea of thoughts most are highly impractical, though thoroughly enjoyable. 😀

    ECHO ECHO

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  12. Responding to this For The Promptless prompt was actually on my “to-do” list that I keep stored in my brain… My mental notebook full of lists is much like your actual notebook full of lists.
    I’m less of a list person (that would be my mother — and in an act of youthful rebellion, I said, “I hate making lists” and have stuck to it) and more of a plan person. Which is basically the same thing, but instead of walking into a grocery store and saying, “What’s on the list?” I turn to my husband and say, “Okay, what’s the plan?” Of course, some things get done and some things don’t.
    Dang, I should have written that post. haha 😀

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    1. Plans and lists are definitely cousins, if not sisters– but I can see the difference. As a hyper-list-maker, I’ve learned to code my language to not stress out non-listers like my husband. I have a list of pasta ingredients, and I tell him, “The plan is pasta!”– then I let him run around solving the issue, and as a quick double check– I review the list. 🙂 Lists are funny things! People have very exaggerated responses to them– in both directions. 🙂

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  13. I make lists too and DATE them all but I don’t have as many your you. Because I kept losing my lists, I purchased a FAT (1-inch thick spiral-bound) notebook (maybe 4″x5″ size). I write my lists in there…even my grocery lists. If I misplaced this little book, I’d be lost. 😉

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  14. I’m a corporate admin so I live and die by my lists. One of the first things I do in the office every morning after I’ve gone through my emails is prioritize my to do list. I keep a notebook as well with notes from status meeting and budget meetings and my to do lists are kept there as well. I love technology but sometimes a hand written list can’t be beat.

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    1. Yep, I’m a techie through and through but my lists are mostly by hand. There’s a certain emotion that hand lists convey that a computer list just can’t. Plus, I find that it’s easier to ignore computer lists than real life post it notes! 🙂

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      1. I have post-it notes EVERYWHERE. One of the greatest things I ever got was a pop-up post-it dispenser. You don’t think it makes that much of a difference, but it does.

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    1. Haha! Awesome. 😀 Color-coordinated lists are beauuutiful! 🙂 I just watched that video– it’s so perfect. No matter what, there’s always a reason for another list! 🙂

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  15. I’m addicted to lists on stickie notes – and rectangular lined notepads. I don’t number my lists – I’m strictly about the bulleted list. Nothing beats a list…except maybe crossing stuff off my list. I have one next to me right now at my desk…and one right under my phone and one near my computer speaker and one hanging from my computer monitor…on all different sized post-its and notepads. 🙂

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    1. I’m a dash sort of girl. I do like numbered lists in posts, but in real life, it’s all “– item.” I like the freeing nature of different types of paper and such– it makes it messier looking, but more fun! 🙂

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      1. messy reigns.

        So I had a dream with you last night – except you weren’t there. I went to a blogger hookup party at this crazy dumpy place…and I kept looking for you (dressed like your avatar) and you weren’t there. Then it was the next day and the place that looked OK by the night was really in a bad part of town. And then someone stole my car – so my husband came to get me and we saw that my car was returned and the guy was passed out – we had called 911 and they said they don’t bother coming to that area and not for a car theft. I was so frustrated and then we drove home in our cars and then I woke up 🙂

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        1. That was rude of me to not be present in my dino suit, haha! 😀 Of course, it was more rude that the guy stole your car. 🙂 I am, however, happy that I cameo’d anyway. Not sure why, but it always seems cool to appear in someone’s dream… 😀

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  16. I refuse to make grocery lists, but I have a list, no, make that journals full of lists for everything else. My fav is ‘songs that haunted my adolesence’ i.e. Benny and the Jets – Elton John

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  17. I was reading this and at first I was like “Oh, I LOVE doing that, too!” but then I was like “OH, I love doing that, too…”… In my defence, my memory tends to be extra selective and while it does help me remember all the lyrics of all the songs I love, it tends to forget things that have deadlines on them.

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  18. Love the unicorn. Now I feel like a trip to the…the.. the nice big building where they display art for you to look at (I can’t spell, menopause, and Seamus and username is all spell check could come up with when I tried for far to long to spell the actual word. I give up.) could take on a whole new level of fun….

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  19. Oh the cheese. I actually stopped for a good five minutes with my partner in the store last week debating whether or not buying the larger block of extra sharp cheddar would expand or limit our cheese-usage options.

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  20. I am not a list maker, unless I’m working. When I used to work I would take great advantage of my Microsoft Calendar to remind me of project deadlines, etc. At home, hubby has a list on the fridge for groceries (since he does the shopping) & if I notice we’re out of something then I add to the list. But otherwise I don’t use lists at all.

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    1. Online calendars are definitely my friend, though I like physical lists better. 🙂 I actually don’t do much of the shopping (thank goodness– we’d never have any real food)… but I do make the lists! 🙂

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  21. I have a list named Victoria. I tell her what I’m going out for (errands) & she reminds & blurts out what’s next. She never forgets 🙂
    (Victoria is my 8 year old daughter)

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  22. Okay, I have to say I am not this out of control. LOL I do think lists are important. I love the feeling I get when I cross things off the list. Hang in there… maybe you need list therapy. giggles

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  23. You may be surprised if I tell you that I’m actually not a list junkie. I write lists on my blog, but hardly anywhere else. I don’t even make grocery lists: either my wife gives me one, or I memorize what I need and if I end up forgetting something, that means it probably wasn’t important enough in the first place.

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    1. That IS surprising! I don’t know how well I could dedicate to a blog of lists if I didn’t enjoy them, haha. 😀 I like your logic, but it sounds like you can trust your brain more than I can trust mine. I can walk into a store with one item on my mental list– soup, soup, soup– and by the time I walk in the door, I’m singing show tunes and buying anything that matches with red– completely convinced that red-matching was the original mission. 🙂

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      1. It’s just easier for me to write a joke and then move to the next one, than write a single coherent story. It’s probably a sign that I have ADD. 🙂

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  24. I make lists of my lists and then forget I made a list so must make a reminder list to remember the list that lists the list — it’s a vicious cycle that somehow turns into the House That Jack Built. 😉

    Adding Unicorns to art isn’t something I’d thought of before, now I’ll be imagining them in everything!

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    1. My lists are much the same. You can’t have a short term list that doesn’t say “make long-term list”, or the other way around, haha… oh, lists. 🙂 Gotta love ’em! 🙂

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  25. Ooo, i love lists and I love your blog! Just discovered it today. I know many people get a thrill out of crossing items off their to-do list but for me, the actual act of throwing out a the post-it note or the piece of paper or deleting the item from my Google calendar is infinitely better than crossing things off!

    Like

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