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Addicted to lists

Tips & Tools

I’ve always been a listmaker, a diligent note-taker, a recorder of all things. I have kept a diary (in some form or another) for every year of my life from age 10 on. I always have notes written on the back of my hand, post-it’s stuck to my countertop and computer screen, and a pen on hand at all times. If you got a peek at my old college notebooks, you’d quickly diagnose me with OCD.

It’s deeply rooted in my personality, for good or bad. As this site illustrates nicely, I like to document the mundane. I like to have projects, and I like ticking things off as I accomplish them. Lists are pretty much a non-negotiable necessity for our fixer-upper lifestyle. Even small things, like “get sandpaper”, are fun to draw a line through. Lists keep me moving and stops me from forgetting the little things when life is busy and my mind is on overload.

That’s why I got such a kick out of this article from AOL – The Way We List Now. Not only am I not alone in this obsession, I am clearly not as crazy as the people they describe. Hooray – I’m only moderately OCD! What a relief.

I’m a fan of some aspects of David Allen’s “Getting Things Done“, namely the idea that capturing all those floating to-do’s in some written form keeps them from becoming a worrisome thought in the back of your mind.

I’ve explored all sorts of free web apps for the process, such as:

  • Ta-Da Lists – One of my favorites, a simple and very functional solution from 37 Signals (I also highly recommend two others apps of theirs, Backpack and Basecamp, if you’re a project manager type)
  • Remember the Milk – An extra cool one with features such as email or sms reminders, tagging, searching, etc. Very cool if you’re the high-tech type.
  • Rough Underbelly – Has cool color coding and a point system, so you can set point goals for the week and compete with yourself ;) (The system is based on David Seah’s Printable CEO)

In the end, I found that what worked best for me is a plain old notebook. It’s portable, it’s always “on”, it’s easy to share with Teague, and there’s something really gratifying about crossing things off with a nice pen. If you’re into the paper thing too, check out DIY Planner for some great ideas and templates.

Are you a listmaker? And if so, what do you use?

Comments, Thoughts, and Feedback

Julie had this to say on 10.06.06:

I use scrap paper and lots and lots of post it notes for my lists. My daughter accused me of wallpapers the wall next to the microwave with post it notes. LOL

kim had this to say on 10.06.06:

Paper. Little squares of paper. They’re everywhere. And notebooks, extra wall calendars, iCal. All categorized and used for different purposes, of course.

I’ve tried some of the online things, but they just don’t give the same satisfaction. I am useless without a list.

Chris and Mandy Emery had this to say on 10.06.06:

I had to laugh at this post as Mandy, my wife, is just like you it seems – addicted to lists. I once received by email a schedule of what we would be doing every day for two months, 6 months from the date of the email! Thank goodness for her lists though, otherwise nothing would get done around here.

Katherine had this to say on 10.10.06:

I steal -and by steal I mean do the environment a favor- pads of prescriptions or other paper from work that are outdated and are going to be tossed and I use them for everything- notes in my husbands lunch, grocery lists and of course to-do lists.
Speaking of which, does the term “honey-do” list bother anyone other than me (for so many reasons)?
Although, with my hubby sometimes a “honey-please don’t” list might be better! ;)

Kristin had this to say on 10.10.06:

Oh definitely I’m addicted to lists. I tried the online apps, but nothing is quite the same as a paper list. There’s something so satisfying about sitting down with a notepad and writing something … we physically write so few things these days.

I tape notes all over the edges of my computer monitor, and the bottom of my purse gets full of them. I still haven’t taken down the to-do list I made in preparation for our trip to Italy. Guess I better do that now.

mimi had this to say on 05.01.08:

Yay! I’m not alone. ^_^
I prefer using tickler notebooks and colored pens.
I bought a ‘to-do list’ pad paper but I still prefer using a plain notebook.

mimi had this to say on 05.01.08:

Kristin said: “There’s something so satisfying about sitting down with a notepad and writing something”…

Exactly! I feel the same way too.

Brent Dunklau had this to say on 10.20.08:

Since you are so addicted to lists (as I am), I felt like I HAD to share this site with you:

I developed this site myself and have quite a few users. If you do a lot of Christmas shopping, it’s a real life-saver.

I invite you to check it out.

Have fun!

Kate had this to say on 03.30.11:

My boyfriend suggested I was addicted to list making which I think so, I don’t think it’s a bad thing though. I keep my notebook on me and a pen and I write down things to do that day or I forget them. As well I keep lists on my notepad in my computer files for things I’m doing on the net or things I need to look up. I also like to plan ahead and think of what I want in the near future and it changes as situations change..I’m not inflexible because of it, and I feel as chris and mandy emery had to say “if not for her lists nothing would get done around here.”.

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