List-making

Are you a list-maker?

Image courtesy of Zackfire.com

I am! I make lists for everything. From your every day “to do” lists, chores, Christmas lists, things I want to do before I’m 30 (the days are dwindling on this one!) I am always making lists or leaving notes for myself to get things done.

Do I always check everything off my list? No, absolutely not! But it is a way to help me organize my thoughts, places I want to go and to  remember things that I might otherwise forget to do (this is especially relevant to chores or buying birthday cards, things I don’t do every day).

My best friend often refers to list-making as part of our “only child syndrome” which I totally agree with but I think I’m also kind of obsessed with organization in general, including my thoughts and ideas. Although my lists aren’t always organized…some are on paper, some are on my Google Calendar, some are on post-it notes at my desk at work. Sometimes I lose them or forget where they are ;-)

But the reason I decided to post about this today is that “to do” lists in particular are causing me problems on the weekends. Now, I am able to get A LOT of things done on the weekends since I am off from work and I write down everything I want or need to do before I go home on Fridays. But I also end up absolutely exhausted, I’m talking feet hurting and everything because I do too much. Sometimes by Monday, I am so tired and sore from the weekend that getting up and going to work is almost impossible.

On the weekend, I think I finally have time to do everything and go everywhere. A friend of mine even joked to me recently that all of my Foursquare check-ins were wearing HER out! When other people start to notice, then it’s really a problem!

A typical weekend for me would include getting up early on Saturday morning, going to yoga, grabbing a coffee, grocery shopping, lunch, fun shopping (Target, the mall, etc.), maybe get some gas, stop by a bookstore, oh I forgot something and have to go back to the grocery…before I know it, it’s dinner time. And I’m ready for bed. Sunday is pretty much a repeat of the same only instead of yoga and coffee, it’s church that I get up early for. And I’m usually scrambling around to get everything done at home that I neglected on Saturday while I was out and about.

So this weekend, I have decided that I want to be productive but I also want to make time to rest and take a load off since I do work all week. I don’t want to wake up on Monday morning feeling like I ran a marathon. I have a lot of energy, but I don’t need to completely deplete it!

What to do? Completely throw the list out? Well, no, some of my errands are going to be kind of fun. Like using the Whole Foods Living Social voucher I scored this week and I really do want to start baking with the three large cans of pumpkin that are now in my pantry. I also want to take a yoga class and take Suzie to the dog park, oh and grocery shopping…can you see how I end up here?

What I need to do is set some priorities. My Google Calendar also really opened my eyes to just how busy I am, both during the week and on the weekends. It’s a good tool to use because I know where I need to be and what all I’ve got going on now and in the future, but it’s also got way too many things listed on it. I need to cut back. So this weekend, I am going to challenge myself.

Since this is a post about list-making, here is the list of the only things I absolutely have to do this weekend:

  • Grocery shopping
  • Laundry
Wow, short list, huh? I can’t believe that is all I have to do and the list I was working on before is miles longer. Now, let’s throw two fun things on there…
  • Yoga class
  • Suzie-Dog park (weather permitting)
Now for a couple relaxing things…
  • Take a nap!
  • Bake something awesome and pumpkin-y (yes I consider baking relaxing!)
If nothing else gets done but those top two, then everything is okay. If I get to do one fun thing and one relaxing thing, great. If I get to do all 6 things I have listed, it would be awesome and chances are I wouldn’t be too worn out, assuming I don’t do them all on the same day, except napping, that has to happen both days!

It also looks like I will spend more than a few hours of the day at home. I feel better already. Now I just have to keep it up. And not add anything to my list.

What about you? Is your life over-organized and yet still full of chaos? Are you able to relax on your days off or do you go back to work feeling even more tired than you did at the end of the week?

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About Sarah Frankel

I am 29 years old and a resident of Louisville, Kentucky. I've been married to my husband Josh for 6 years and we have a 5 year old beagle named Suzie. Four years ago, I changed my eating and exercise habits, dropping 70 pounds and gaining an entirely new life. I took up running in September 2007 and became vegan in October 2009. I am constantly striving to improve my life so that I can live it to the fullest! I hope you will join me on my life journey.

Posted on September 16, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. This reminds me of a post I had made on my blog about time management http://robdyson.blogspot.com/2011/07/response-to-steve.html. It’s from the Stephen Covey book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It categorizes everything as either Urgent or Non-urgent on one axis, and either Important or Non-important on the other. Unfortunately, we end up spending a lot of time in the Urgent/Non-important quadrant, when we need to be intentional about being in the Non-urgent/Important category – things like health, relationships, spirituality. We don’t have much choice about doing the things in the Urgent/Important like work. We could probably almost eliminate everything in the Non-urgent/Non-important area.

  2. Hey Sarah! Hope you are well.

    I, too, am a big fan of lists. I am a huge “planner” in general, I have had a Google Calendar for a while now and block off time for studying, shopping, “breaks”, anything really, down to the half hour!

    I think it is all about find a balance between being productive and being worn out. I currently am experiencing much more of the “worn out” side, but I think I’m learning that college work is more about determining what work needs to be done immediately and what can wait ;)

  3. Whoa, your layout is dope! (shows I typically read things directly in Google Reader). Nice job, Sarah.

    Anyway, I use Google Calendar’s “Tasks” for my list, which is typically only one, and it is “stuff to do” with no real priority. Not so great. But it syncs with Tasks on my iPhone and is pretty handy. Nothing get deleted, just “checked off” so I can always go back and find stuff if I need it.

    A better system would be to use a few lists, categorize them by priority, and also list action steps, i.e. step 1 in getting dog food would be “plan a trip to an area where I can buy dog food” (like St. Matthews, for instance). This idea comes from David Allen who wrote/spoke a really good book/lecture series called Getting Things Done. He has some great ideas but they do take a little bit of work and modification to put into practice.

    I also use e-mail and Calendar to remind me to do stuff (again, not the best practice, but it works). E-mails in my inbox mean “do something” or “reply to me” and events on the calendar can also be “do something.” The benefit of this is that my phone alerts me to things if I’m not near my Google calendar (which is almost always open in another tab). I am constantly working on improving the system so I appreciate your timely post!

    For a bunch of random stuff on Saturday, April and I will often write it by hand on a piece of paper – this helps make it concrete as well as keep things organized; plus at this point its nostalgic to write things down with a pen. Ha!

  4. at work, I am definitely a list maker. in my person life i should make more lists! at time, i find myself putting my hair apts and people’s birthdays in my outlook calendar at work, but still i like to keep the weekend free of any list or to do & just play it by ear :)

  5. I LOVE LISTS! I should note I’m the oldest of five children too :)

    To keep myself from getting overwhelmed I’ll write a list for today, but also jot down some things for the next few days. If I know I won’t get it done today, then I don’t write it on today’s list.

  6. Oh yes, lists are my jam. They make everything better…even if forgotten 5 minutes after I write them :-)

  7. I am such a list maker, absolutely. I have to because I have no memory. I too have baking with pumpkin on my list this week, actually every week until the end of the year.

  8. I’m just not list-oriented. I wish I could be – it’d be less chaos in my life I think =)
    Really, the only list I can truly stick to is a grocery list, hehe!

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