I am a to-do list addict. I have lists for everything: daily chores, blog post topics, bills to pay, groceries, household projects…it goes on ad nauseam. I have paper lists, iPhone app lists, and Google documents to house my lists. At this point, I need a list of lists as well as a directory for where I keep them all.
It’s kind of insane.
What I like about my lists is that they give me the feeling that I’m organized. I’m not a naturally organized person (you should see my desk at home. It’s frightening). It is work for me to be organized. Lists help me tell myself that even if I’m a mess, at least I’m trying to combat the problem (and effort is worth like 85%, right?) Additionally, I suffer from depression and anxiety and get overwhelmed very easily; having the lists on hand helps bring me back to reality and allows me to focus when I’m in the middle of an anxiety attack.
The problem is this, though: I never actually adhere to my lists (except at the supermarket. Most of the time). Lists have become like the speed limit on most roads. They’re a guideline. I use them as a way of telling myself what I need to do and what I want to write about but usually I kind of toss them aside and do what I want. Lists, for all their good intentions, are really a way of setting myself up to fail. When I look at a to-do list and realize I did nothing on it, I get sad and angry. Mostly due to the fact that I took the time to write it all out and then completely ignored it. But a little bit because I can’t even follow my own directions.
And all of this makes me jealous of people who can adhere to their to-do lists. I don’t know how you do it. How do you make a list and actually stick to it? Don’t you look at some things on there (like laundry) and say “screw it. I’m not going to do that today”? What keeps you motivated to actually accomplish what you intend to accomplish? And what do you use to keep your to-do lists safe and secure so you can actually use them (have I mentioned that I have a problem of writing lists and then losing them and then writing a new one and then finding the old one?)? I’m serious–I want to know.
Because if not, I think I’m going to put “master my to-do list” on my to-do list. And I have a pretty good idea as to how that’s going to go.