Santa’s Got Nothing on Me! Confessions of a Chronic List Maker

“Making a list and checking it twice.”  Santa Claus has nothing on me, the chronic lister.  Picture Santa, a twinkle in his eye, red pencil in hand, checking his infamous list and smiling as he verifies each name.  You can almost smell the sugar cookies baking in the oven.  

Now, visualize me, the chronic lister.  A formidable look of concentration, colored sharpies, three sharpened pencils, multiple highlighters, along with day planners, legal pads, post-it notes, Google calendar, and a daily task planner spread on my desk.  No sugar plums dancing in this head.  

As we rapidly approach Jan. 1, my life Is filled with lists. But this compulsion to list hearkens back to a simpler time.

I became a lister in elementary school when I discovered my first homework assignment book complete with subject dividers and perfectly lined pages, waiting to be filled.  It was wonderful!  As a fourth grader, my lists were simple: Homework & Christmas list.  My homework list kept me focused while my Christmas List allowed me to dream. Two vital life skills for a nine-year-old. 

Nothing is ever as uncomplicated as childhood, so as I grew so did my lists.  It was like an obsession.  Actually, it is an obsession.  I had to have a list for everything.  The grocery lists.  The household chores lists.  To do lists. Completed work lists. Pending projects lists.  Brilliant ideas lists. Lists for my lists. Telephone conversations with bullet points lists.   And the lists go on and on and on.    

For instance, as soon as the telephone rings, I pick up a pen and notepad before answering.  Before the conversation begins, the notepad has the date and time at the top of the page.   If the conversation is lengthy or boring, the margins will be filled with doodles and lines.  Doodling is permitted only on the sidelines.  Never mix doodles with bullet points.  The list is easier to decipher when re-writing a more legible list from a doodle list.  

I’m always looking for that all-purpose list.  You know, the one list that will include all lists.  A master list for lists, if you will. “Try such and such day planner.  It’s great for lists!” other listers suggested.  After spending literally hundreds of dollars on day planners, my debit card cried out in pain forcing me to take a reality check.

The reality was plain and simple.  There is no perfect planner.  It doesn’t exist.  There must be, I argue with myself.  This was totally unacceptable.   I decided to create and customize my own day planner.  It would be the ultimate Super-Duper Day Planner, which would meet not only my needs but the needs of other listers like me.  This could go global.   Dollar marks danced in my head along with“ sugar and spice and everything nice”.  As I began to list the standards for the Super-Duper Planner, I quickly realized that it could not be done.

To meet the strict requirements for the perfect planner, I would need a red Radio Flyer wagon to pull around with me all day.  Just to carry the planner. 

Someone, obviously a fly by the seat of  your pants person,  suggested that I stop making so many lists.  It was as though I had suddenly been deprived of oxygen.  Once my heart rate returned to normal, I immediately added their name to my list of Unusual and Abnormal People.  

So, I’ll carry on.  Business as usual.  Colored sharpies, sharpened pencils, highlighters, day planners, legal pads, post-it notes, Google calendar, and a daily task planner.  And, a red Radio Flyer Wagon, just in case.