Or starting the week without a To Do list incomprehensible?
What about having a list of goals for the year? Don't you find that practical and on the cute side of target-driven?
Have you reached that "if it's not on the list, it doesn't exist" stage of life?
In this, my list confessional, ironically written in the form of a list, I try to discover if my once agile and awesomely organised mind hasn't become a little too enslaved by the list-making.
What would happen if I challenged myself to go a week without writing a list? Would I forget something so eye-wateringly important, karma would be belly-laughing at the payback possibilities? Would I get to the end of the week and see my self-esteem lying pathetically on the floor, starved of any sense of achievement? Or, would the amount of time freed up by the not making of the lists, mean I had to actually tackle the very stuff I avoided by spending time writing them on a list?
*clears throat* I haven't exactly carried out the challenge. What? I'm not stupid. A whole week without writing one single list? Baby steps, people.
Before listing the lists I write each week I offer you three types of list-makers: The Procrastinator, The Doer and The Stationery Addict.
As a writer I am all three of these. Sometimes at the same time!
I'm trying to remember when the penchant for list-making started. I definitely remember knowing that writing a revision plan, with a list of topics I needed to revise (and the order in which I needed to revise them) was going to be way more fun than the actual act of revising for exams. Early evidence of list-maker procrastinator?
Then there was the first time I had too many deadlines coming up at work. Being able to rely on my To Do list took the pressure off. Methodically achieving the list became my doer's redemption.
Lastly, yes, I am that person who buys novelty stationery. Little odd-shaped notebooks I fill with checklists, top-ten lists, wish lists/bucket lists, Christmas lists. To Be Read lists. Books I've Read lists.
As a writer I'm part plotter part pantser. I work out plot--albeit loosely to leave room for my characters to surprise me along the way. But this does mean I write lists of character traits and on a plotting board I put lists of scenes and lists of plot turns. So in any given week I write lists of the above and:
1) A To Do List. This list contains items that if I don't do, someone wil a) shout at me, b) nag at me, or c) look at me like I'm TSTL. I also list things so mundane I've practically already done them. (Sometimes I have. Not gonna lie--the act of crossing things off the list is strangely satisfying). Also on the list are things I would like to get done. And will get done. When I get sucked into that magical vortex where time doubles.
2) The food shopping list. Time is precious and if I return home missing half the stuff I need, I'm going to a) use unladylike profanities (sometimes fun) and b) have to go out again (not fun).
3) At the end of my writing day I write a list of where I want to take the scene the following day.
Hey. This isn't too bad. To think I was worried about a measly three lists a week. Nothing to see here folks.
Where does it all end? What if I were to start a List of Lists? Uh-huh. Start writing one of those puppies and no doubt I'm straying into "When List-Making Goes Bad" land.
That smacks of list-making in control of you, not you in control of list-making.
And what if I were to take any one of those lists and start subdividing, alpha-sorting and colour-coordinating???
Wait. That's what you do with charts, right? Phew. Charts are totally different. Charts = Spreadsheets. A spreadsheet isn't a list. Not really. I mean, sure people use them as lists, but technically...
*heads off to turn "Things I need to do pre book launch" list into a spreadsheet*