The power of a list

That Moleskine diary
That Moleskine diary

It’s a standing joke in my family, the way I make lists. But really, they work. This is not just shopping lists, though I make those too (in the computer, with all the standard items ordered by aisle in the local supermarket). There are different classes of lists, with different calming powers.

Everyday lists – reminding me to do things like renew the library books, or get the deworming tablets. I make these a week in advance (off a rolling master list), so Things Get Done. That old thing about asking a busy person to do things is true – but only because the busy person has taken the trouble to get organised in this way so you don’t have to.

Routine lists – also made in advance, saying things like put clothes out at night, pack lunch. I write them down even though I do them every day. It makes me feel better.

Longer-term lists – guess what, they are made in advance. This is things like make mince pies in October and freeze them so I am not running round like a crazy person in December.

Big event lists – here is the real power of a list, the preparation for a big event. An exam, a training course I am running, a holiday, a house move, a wedding… all of these are conquered by a list (or many lists). Sitting down with a cup of tea, a black Moleskin diary and a preparedness to think things through can instantly reduce that feeling that things have become too complicated, too overwhelming, toooooo much. Panic subsides. I move through the list, one item at a time. I’m still nervous and still worried and still anxious, but I have a plan. And as every South African knows, making a plan is everything.

You are so organised, say all my friends. I’d say to them, it is just the lists but I know they don’t believe me. So I smile and say thank you.

NOTE: This is a response to WordPress’s Daily Prompt for October 4