LISTS – Why do I do this to myself?

Why do I set myself up for failure?  Yes, I am one of those people.  I am a “list maker”.  I have been for as long as I can remember.  Maybe it started out when I was first working and had to have a list of things needed to be done during the day/week/month.  Then it carried over into my home life.  Or maybe I was a list maker before and carried it into my work life.  Either way, I am one of “those people”.

While I was the Environmental Health Center in Dallas I would spend each evening before going to bed going over mountains of paperwork trying to decide what antigens I should test the next day, how many I had left to test and what number I needed to test each day in order to get done and more importantly get back home.  I also had on my list my IV therapy, sauna therapy, doctor appointments, etc.  The kink in this was that I never knew how many antigens I could test on a particular day.  Some days I would have an extremely difficult antigen (aspergillus mold for example) and spend most of the morning working on getting my neutralizing end point only to not find it and end  up having to go home only partially testing a single antigen.  My therapist worked with me over and over to try to make a weekly list of things I “would like” to test and then just randomly pick them once I was in the testing room in an effort to release me from the panic when I would get home and be so angry that I didn’t finish everything on my list.

I am better at list making than I was but I still tend to overload the list and set myself up for failure.  I can’t totally get rid of my list.  Today’s list for example is:

Laundry (two loads at least)

Folding Clothes (laundry above will add to what I already have to do)

Phone meeting on information from the publishing company. (Only because she didn’t call me)

Balance CheckbookTag Blanket

Tag Blanket

Work on blog post (this may be done soon)

Ironing (huge pile there)

Start sewing on quilts for children’s hospital (haven’t sewn any in a while) (I ended up sewing a simple tag blanket.   I had some remnants of fleece and scraps of ribbon and rick rack.  The picture is shown above.)

Pay Bills

Set up online bill pay

Try a new gluten-free recipe

Clean one pantry cabinet

Work on taxes for 2012

While this list doesn’t seem HUGE, I am not going to get everything done.  I am tired and invariably something will come up that will change my day and force more things on my list to not get crossed off.  Sometimes in an effort to trick myself, I add things on my list that are easy to cross off or if I end up doing something else, I add it to my list just so I can cross something off (take out trash, make bed, etc.).  It always looks better when something is crossed off and you can feel a sense of accomplishment at seeing that line scratched through a list item.

How many of you are one of “those people”, the list makers?  I would love to hear from you.  How do you make your lists?  Do you prioritize items on the list or just plunge in and do what you feel like doing first?  Do you, like me, add things you have done that weren’t on the list just so you can have something to scratch off?  Are you lists primarily for work tasks or do you throw in household chores?  Do you use one of those pretty “To Do Today” tablets?  Please let me know.

It will soon be time to start dinner.  Too late to start working on taxes, clean a pantry cabinet or try out a new recipe.  By this time of the day, I am done!  I will be back later to comment on the comments to this post.  I guess these items will be added to tomorrow’s list and I will once again try to get them done.

25 responses to “LISTS – Why do I do this to myself?

  1. I am a list maker! And yes, I add things that I’ve done which WEREN’T on the list just to feel accomplished. I usually just jump right in and tackle whatever seems the easiest or most effective to do, depending on my mood. I use Evernote (website and app) but I also just use a pen and paper sometimes.

    • Amanda – I find myself tackling the easiest things first so that I can get as much done in as short a time as possible. Then on the the tougher and more time consuming projects. I just checked out evernote. I think it is something I might be interested in trying. Thank you for mentioning it.

  2. I am a list maker – if it isn’t written down, it probably won’t happen. Certain things have a deadline and others can be just carried from day to day. At times I have even had a “dead brain” list – things to do that didn’t require brain power but helped me feel like I was accomplishing something.

    • Oh, I like the “dead brain” list. Sometimes when working on a project from “the list” I find myself veering off in a different direction. Finishing project A sometimes sends me to something not on the list. That is why I some times add something I did just for the satisfaction of scratching it off.

  3. I’m one of “those people” & always have been!!!! I make lists or I would forget half of what I planned on doing– or forget what needs or has to be done!!! I have several bulletin boards in my office– one is notes of what I have to do this month– & reminders-&- birthdays- & events– etc– etc—-then I have a bulletin board that has notes on it to my self-for everyday reminders of like– don’t forget– to call so & so– about– this or that– etc etc etc– then I have lists for the store & different stores in my purse-& cupons with those lists– all are in seperate envelopes- & labeled & -with cupons-etc etc- – & then I have a bulletin board that has those things that have to be done SOON– or I want to do soon– & then I have a bulletin board that says– did you forget– with lists??????? I don’t usually make things off– & no I never put the simple things I know I’ll get done!!! My lists are reminders– we all with MCS understand the Brain Fog- 🙂 – my lists help me organize– & help with the brain fog– I have always been a list maker– also one side of the frig.– has note paper & magnets for notes– & lists!!! I have a friend who sends me homemade cards– & note paper– that she makes– & I use them for my lists– she puts cute pictures or sayings on them– so my bulletin boards also have cute cards & note paper!!! Also I have bright colored recipe or note cards– left from my businesses– & I use them for lists– hot pink notes mean– get it done soon!!!!!!!!! 🙂

    • I have two bulletin boards in my office. They are both metal and I use brightly colored magnets. One is mine for my monthly calendar, weekly calendar, notes to myself of sites I want to check, etc. The other one I bought because my husband was putting things on my board. Oh NO! Now he has is own. I am thinking about the possibility that I need another one but not sure where I would put it. I have a very nice rack next to them that holds all my CD’s for programs and information that I have stored. There is another section by my computer table where I might put a bulletin board but currently it holds the art work of my granddaughters. I can’t give that up. I have a magnetic list on the refrigerator as well for my grocery lists. I am always using post it notes that get stuck on everything. One of my biggest must-haves are my steno pads. I started using them back in high school when I learned the long-forgotten art of shorthand. To me steno pads are the perfect size for note and list making. I always have a ready supply in different colors. I have tried having a steno pad for different subjects: book, to do, notes from others and tried making them stand out with different colors. I have found that this doesn’t work for me because I invariably grab whichever one is closest. Maybe tomorrow I will post pictures of my office space and we can all compare.

  4. I also have decorative push points on all my bulletin boards– & cute magnets to hold my notes on the frig!!!! Makes me feel better!!!! 🙂 hee hee

    • Currently I have the gray magnets that came with my bulletin board and some green ones. I have seen some really cute ladybugs, etc. Maybe next time I find them online I will order some for my bulletin board.

  5. I have been a list maker for as long as I can remember. I use paper and pen most of the time because I can keep it handy to remind me of what I need to do. Lately I have been setting the timer between 7 and 15 minutes to see what I can get done on the list. The problem I have is a growing list. I write down something that needs to be done and forget to write down something that I need to do, then remember later. I could probably spend several hours of just working on my “To Do List.” I have added to my Bucket List – finish my “To Do List” before I die.

    • “I have added to my Bucket List – finish my “To Do List” before I die.” LOVE IT— TOOO FUNNY!!!! 🙂

    • I love the “Bucket List” addition. I am so afraid that if I added it to my Bucket List, I would die with a list still sitting on my desk. There is a saying, She who dies with the most fabric wins. Back in the “old” days, I had a closet full of fabric, laces, patterns, and all sorts of trims just waiting for me to find a project for them. When I had to give up everything all those things were given up. Maybe we should have a new saying: She who dies with the most things on her ‘To Do’ list, spent time enjoying life. Or something to that effect. What do you all think? It sounds better than She who dies with the most things on her ‘To Do’ list wasn’t working hard enough.

  6. I too am now and have always been a list maker….its just that now like others here I have to be one due to the brain fog. I find I need the list to help me prioritize and organize what used to be second nature and done in my mind. Now I have to put it on paper and work through it there. I am goal orientated and have to accomplish something every day. I also am a “recovering control freak”….LOL and so now I just do my best to control me but this means I have to be organized and productive or I feel totally out of control and this causes the emotional side of things to cascade into an episode if I don’t stay on top of things. I hate what the mold has done to my brain most of all!

    • I hate what the mold has done to my brain most of all! Amen to that!! I miss my multi-tasking brain very much. Oh the things I could get done (that sounds like a Dr. Seuss book title).

  7. My mother can attest to you that I started making lists as soon as I could write. So I really had a jump on mastering it, haha. Nowadays, I have one “MASTER” to-do list of on-going to-dos. “Laundry.” is listed instead of “wash, iron, fold, etc.” “Clean the House” is also an umbrella term for another “mini-list” of tasks. The blog’s on there, writing’s on there, even watching movies and reading books is on there. Here’s where it gets crazy – I use a deck of cards, too. I draw a card – say, an 8 – then count 8 down from the last thing I worked on. Then I do a 30 min – 1 hour chunk of that activity. Sometimes more, if it’s a big project and I have lots of time, and sometimes less, if I’m crunched for time and can only accomplish a small piece of it. Husband says I’m crazy, but it really works for me. Plus, I can never chide myself for working too much or relaxing too much – the cards keep it random.

    • Interesting idea about the cards. So my question is: Are lists like this more a woman thing than a man thing? My husband doesn’t often make a list unless it is a grocery store list.

      • I think so. My husband is the type to spend all day working on one thing, where as I like to work on small chunks of a lot of different things. Consequently, he doesn’t always get all he needs to done. I’ve thought lists could help him, but he hates lists. Like you, I’ve only ever seen him make one for groceries.

    • Rachel

      I am going to include this in a post. I loved it! Especially wish I knew for sure if it would work for me. My daughter and grandchildren are going to Disneyland next month. Too late for me to figure things out but maybe in the future and we could plan a trip.

  8. Pingback: Lists – A Funny Video | allergictolifemybattle

  9. I used to be able to keep track of everything in my head. Now, I have to write it down if I want to remember it. My lists are short–3 or 4 items each day. I love the idea of a ‘dead brain’ list. I often have a dead brain. I tire easily and it seems when I’m physically tired my brain is tired as well. My thoughts wander randomly; my focus meanders on another path; and the rest of me says, ‘Give up. Take a nap.’
    I do think the list is more a female thing. Men usually see it as sissifying. For the past year or more, my husband has to go shopping with me. He insists on a list before we leave, but complains the entire time.

    • My brain is often dead too! Wish I could nap but my brain just doesn’t shut down and let me. If I could lay on my acupuncturist’s table for a couple of hours after treatment I might get in a good nap. That 20 minutes goes by way too fast. I barely get into the zone and it is time to remove them, get balanced and go home. I take a grocery list but invariably in my brain fog once in the store forget something.

  10. Pingback: The latest in list making | allergictolifemybattle

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