An Incurable Addiction: List Making

I like to make lists. Lists for the things I need to do that day. Lists of the things I want to do. Lists of things I’ve done. I make a lot of lists.

My senior year of high school I made a list of 100 things I want to do before I die. Everything from travel to all 50 states to learn Latin.  There are items I could easily cross off tomorrow and items that I may take years.

My two best friends and I made a list of all the countries in Europe we want to visit. We’re pretty travel hungry. It included every European country except Slovakia and Slovenia (and that had something to do with the movie Hostel).

Each summer I make a list of books I’ve read. Every Spring Break I make a list of all the things I want to do in the city.

I have a running list of all the movies I want to see but haven’t. Classics like Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Casablanca. Recent releases like Babel and Slumdog Millionaire.

If you open one of my journals, you’re bound to stumble upon a list or two. I have lists of my favorite actors and my favorite TV shows. I have lists of cities I want to visit. I have lists of all the states I’ve been to and all the countries I can name. I once (upon request) made a list for my sister of all classic novels she should read.

On the back of more than one notebook from school, I have lists of funny quotes from professors that tended to say strange things.

My computer at work actually has one folder titled “Lists.” So apparently even when I’m not writing lists, I collect them. Even if it is for my boss.

My friend Cade told me I spend more time making lists of things to do than actually doing them. He might be right. I think putting something down on paper saying you’re going to do it is more powerful than simply saying you will someday do something.  (This way you have it staring you in the face whenever you pick up that particular list).

I like to feel accomplished. Lists do that. You can make a list of all the tasks you’ve completed or all the books you’ve read and wave it around and say look how much I’ve done. Or, if you have a list of things that need to be completed there’s something liberating about crossing the items off one by one. (Come to think of it, this may explain why I tend to have a high stress level).

If nothing else, lists create a sense of clarity. They outline, in the haze of a crazy day, the things you want to remember.

Personally I think my list making is just a little quirk.  (I’ve even just made a list of all my lists).


One thought on “An Incurable Addiction: List Making

  1. I am a fellow list-maker! I LOVE lists. They make me feel productive, in control, clear. I make lists of absolutely everything from what my lifetime goals are to what needs doing this very hour. I always carry a notebook and a pen wherever I go and more than once have frustrated my little brother by insisting he help me compile a list of things we should do or things we need to get for Christmas etc. Lists are wonderful!


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