The Problem with Lists

IMG_6569Have you ever stopped to think about how many lists there are in the world? I’ll begin by listing a few of them.

Grocery list, packing list, inventory list, bucket list, to-do-list, reading list, guest list, waiting list, call list, class list, friends list, wish list, and the FBI most wanted list… I could go on an on. I’ve written a lot of lists in my life.  When I can’t decide what to write about, I’ve even made a “what I could write about list.”

Lists can help us remember things. But they can also stop us from enjoying life if we let them control us. Have you ever not been able to function without your list? One time I lost my grocery list with my menu for the week when I was in the grocery store. I’ll admit, I’m an organization freak. When I lost my list a sense of panic spread throughout my body! Actually, it wasn’t the end of the world and I  even learned that I usually buy the same things every time I shop. Ok… yogurt, Cheerios, sandwich thins, sliced  turkey… I think we’ll survive!

When I get ready to travel I begin by making a list, of course.  I start packing several days before I leave, and check off each item as I put it in the suitcase. This method is not entirely fool-proof if you didn’t write something you needed on the list. I really admire people who literally, “fly by the seat of their pants”. Some people I know, and I won’t mention any names here, don’t make lists and wait until the last hour to pack before leaving for the airport! They say, if I forgot something, like clothes, I can always buy more souvenir T-shirts!

What about to-do-lists? Do you enjoy a sense of accomplishment as you cross those tasks out?  Have you ever crossed them out even though you didn’t do them? How do you acknowledge if you really completed the task or did a half way job? Too often I put way too many things on my to-do-list. So  I have to carry it over to the next day and maybe even the next week! Making lists can be very time-consuming.  What’s the point of having your whole day crossed out before you go to bed? Extend that to crossing out weeks, months, years, and even your whole life! To-do-lists are mostly for boring, unpleasant tasks that no one really wants to do. Some of the most memorable and enjoyable moments of our lives can happen in between the entries on our list. Who writes down,” be sure to eat ice cream today”, or “sit on the front porch and enjoy the sunset”?

Most people my age are thinking about crossing things off their bucket lists. A bucket list might include exotic places to visit, learning a new skill, or doing something adventurous. I’m curious, do most people write their bucket list in one sitting, or do they continually add to it? What is the best age to start writing a bucket list?  For the unimaginative, there are websites where you can get bucket list ideas! See the top 100 bucket list ideas at themasterbucketlist.com. I was surprised to read #25, “Raise a happy and healthy child.” Is that something you can really control?  What happens when  your bucket list is all crossed out? Is life over?

Lists can really stress a person out. They can actually depress you by making you feel like a failure if you don’t accomplish what you’ve written down.  And let’s face it, life does get in the way sometimes. Life, with all its twists and turns is full of unexpected events. My new challenge for myself is to live in the moment and make less lists. Hmmm…Maybe  I will write that down as number one on my “new personal goals list”.

 

 

 

 

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Author: thepoetonblueberrystreet

Debra Burton is a poet and free lance writer. She is a member of Word Weavers International.

10 thoughts on “The Problem with Lists”

    1. I used to make lists for everything but the last couple of years I have traded my lists in for a calendar to help me remember where I am suppose to be😊

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  1. I’ve made lists where one of the items is about making another list. I also have a file folder on on my desktop that says “File Me.” Inside that file are other folders that have more intimidating titles like “Needs To Be Filed” or “REALLY NEEDS TO BE FILED.”

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  2. When Chuck and I were first married I was the biggest planner and list maker you would ever meet. I would get a yearly calendar and fill out everything I needed or wanted to do for the year and feel relief when it was finished. After a couple of years and a lot of unfinished “list” projects and then babies I found out trying to live that way is extremely complicated and stressful. I realized in making all these lists I wasn’t trusting God. There’s nothing wrong with lists just making them the priority is – plus getting older and forgetting = needing them more.

    Oh – and you asked on my blog what my doctor thought about the cell phone and tumor connection. She said she thought that was very interesting and wasn’t going to carry hers on her body anymore, you know in pockets or whatever. I also took a survey on your chances of getting cancer and one of the questions was, “Do you carry your cell phone in your pockets?” It was one of the you’re more likely to get cancer questions.

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