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List mania

“I don’t like the sound of all the lists he’s making”

– Ben Stein

My obsession with writing lists is actually starting to get a little bit beyond silly.

True, I do tend to do all the tasks on my lists most days. But my desk, handbag, diary, notebooks are full off separate pieces of paper all with task lists scribbled on them.

I do often wonder where I would be without my lists.

At first it was just useful for my writing, but now it seems almost like a necessity. It keeps my mind focused. If I didn’t make them I think that my brain would keep jumping back and forward thinking. Thinking about the task that I’m doing, that I’m going to do next, that I’m going to do tomorrow.

It’s like writing a diary for me. People who keep diaries, either daily or just when they need to, use the process as a sort of therapy. To clear their minds and re-evaluate what they’ve done. It’s the same for me and my notes. Make a list and my mind clears and stays focused – well most of the time anyway. Like most people I can be distracted.

It’s also true that I go beyond my task list, but usually only when the list has been completed. My mind still can run away with me and I can think of tasks to do on the spur of the moment. Just this afternoon I wrote a quick first draft of a couple of short stories that I hadn’t planned on. But my task-list had been finished. I don’t think I could have allowed my brain the freedom to do that. [Although, when I am part way through my list, if ideas come to me I do write them down.]

But it’s not just my day-to-day tasks for which I make lists.

I’ve got a list for immediate tasks that need completing in the next few days.

I’ve got a list for ongoing tasks, like updating my blog and social networking.

I’ve got a list for my immediate future tasks that need completing. At the moment that’s now extending to just before Christmas, and that includes getting my novel fully edited so I can begin self publishing.

And I’ve even got a list for future future tasks. Like what projects I want to start next, after publication.

Is it just me? Is it unusual to keep so many notes? I guess if it works for me – then hey whose to complain? Apart from my other half/beloved who I’m sure will one day soon lose his patience at my constant note-making….bless him.

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