Monday, January 30, 2012

Is It On The List?

As you may have deduced from my personality type, I love lists. I love to have my tasks laid out in an orderly fashion. I love to check things off as they're done. The whole process soothes my monkey brain into submission so that I can actually complete the tasks on the list. I have been (lovingly) mocked in the workplace for my daily to-do lists, but when I take my lists and move on, they're sorry :-P

I like lists so much that I even love spreadsheets. I've created spreadsheets for restaurants, architects, spas and just for me. When I began my massage career, I even made one that tracked each massage appointment that I had by type, commission and tip then totaled the appointments by shift, week, paycheck and month... o.k., that sounds obsessive, but a) it sounds more complicated than it really is and b) when you work solely off of commissions and gratuities, it's important to keep track so that you are compensated appropriately by your employer :-P

I even keep old lists. I pleases me to look back on past lists and remember the occasion that warranted such planning and organization. Like Thanksgiving 2007 - it was my first time to host a major holiday on my own :-)

... and my house was a WRECK. This is actually page 1 of 2. The second page has a 2-week countdown on it. I barely finished in time!

Sometimes my past holiday and event lists help me to prepare for future events as my shopping and task lists are already laid out. Sometimes they're a reminder of what went wrong or what I should do ahead of time.

Then there are the things I've tracked just since becoming a mother. The breastfeeding log that was meant to be kept up for a week or so to soothe new parent's concerns about intake and output. I obsessively kept it up until she was almost 8 weeks old:

Oooooh, here's a good one! Look at this timeline:

Looks a bit crazy, doesn't it! I see new parents who are so sleep deprived that they devise a complex system to track baby's movements in order to discern ANY possible pattern of sleep with the hope of turning that pattern into a habit. My heart goes out to those two - that was a rough time. Now we've learned our lesson - she either sleeps or she doesn't.

I almost showed you my current ongoing list that tracks our bills just like a spreadsheet but with more elbow grease because I'm pretty proud of it. Then I realized that putting all of my service provider names along with amounts and due dates would be incredibly unwise. Don't worry, I trust YOU, it's that one over there that I'm worried about :-P

I come by this naturally. Friday was my dad's birthday. Saturday, my mom hosted  a small dinner to celebrate. When we spoke Friday, she said something about not being able to go to the store until in the morning, but that it would be just fine. I could hear her list beginning in my head. When I got to her house  to help set up, I kept my eye out for it. As we puttered along, she said 'maybe we should write down what we have left... you know... just to stay organized.' The notebook was procured, and the new list was begun. As we went along, she'd say things like 'add wash dishes so I can cross that off when I'm done' or 'did you add bread dough in machines? Good - cross it off.'

It's just one of those things that I share with my maternal kin. Like our eye shape, our hands and our inability to make anything less than too much salad. We like lists. We like to lay out our tasks and our projects. We like to cross things off as we go. We like the feeling of completion when the list is done. I like that we share this small compulsion. I like that our same-ness is more than skin deep.


  1. I like that you like lists too - it is why you are on my list of top friends. ;p Lists allow me to simultaneously fill 25 roles throughout the day and only drop the ball a dozen times or so. I'd still be in bed right now if my list hadn't told me to get up this morning!

  2. Kitts -
    Lists, cheese, inappropriate behavior - these are the ties that bind us together... I LOVE YOU!!!!

  3. I love that you keep old lists! Isn't it an insight into where you were at that time?

  4. Su - I couldn't stop if I wanted to - I've tried :-P