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What would I do without lists?

By Elizabeth Held
Friday, February 5, 2010

I was once told, “Making lists is good, but if you spend all your time making lists, it’s not good.”

I fear I’m beginning to fall into the second category. I love lists. I love being able to visualize what I have to do and the feeling that comes with crossing something off the list.

But, lately I find myself relying on at least two lists. First, I have a list of all my major assignments due over the course of the semester. And then, I have my “master list,” my list of day-to-day tasks. This is written in a little notebook that I carry around with me everywhere. I won’t leave without it.
On top of that I write the occasional sublist, the things I have to do in order to scratch off something on the master list.

I find myself occasionally writing things on my list just so I can cross them off. For instance, “lunch.” As if I wouldn’t eat if it weren’t on my list.

Perhaps my lowest of lows occurred the other day when in the seconds before going to the gym, I wrote “gym” on the list.

I think it may be time to kick the habit.

But I don’t know how I would function without my lists. They structure my life. They’re what force me to get out of bed and get some exercise or to do my homework instead of reading random articles on Slate.

Speaking of Slate, their political reporter, John Dickerson, put out a call for list ideas a few months ago. Click HERE for his findings.

I can’t say I find any of them particularly helpful.

But I’m wondering if any of you have ideas of how to better structure my lists. Or if you want to get really crazy, figure out how I could eliminate them.

Leave me ideas, please!

 
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