As I drank a second cup of coffee and made a specific list of things to do today, my husband said, “Why don’t you take a day off? You know, just goof off for the whole day.” I rolled my eyes (while he laughed hysterically), then went back to my listmaking—which I may have taken to a new level.

First, there’s the life-quest master list, with all the big ideas like: Make the NY Times bestseller list, lose 7 pounds, be nicer to the husband. Nothing comes off the list until it’s accomplished. “Quit smoking” was on the list for 10 years (scratched it off 15 years ago!), and “Lose 7 pounds” has been there since college. (Maybe a nasty bout of food poisoning will eventually take care of that.)

Then there’s the ongoing writing/promoting/career list with things like: “Create a master list of character descriptions” and “Create and post a book discussion guide” (still haven’t done that). Then there’s the daily list of every little thing for that day, such as: blog, bike ride, work on novel, update website, water flowers before they die, have sex. Often there’s a fourth list of things to do while I’m out and about: bank, haircut, post office, Fred Myer. That list may include a list of things to buy at FM, or I may have a fifth little post-it note on my wallet that says: decaf, mints, meaties.

I also have lists for: books to read, blogging ideas, nonfiction article ideas, novel ideas, places to visit, websites to check out, editors, publishers, agents, and more.

So now you’re thinking, “That is truly anal.” And you are truly right.

But I get things done.

So back to my original thought: Have I ever goofed off for a whole day when I wasn’t on vacation in some place other than my home? Actually, no, I haven’t. Can I do it?

No, not a whole day.

But I recognize the need to occasionally have fun. (On vacation, I go all out and don’t even answer my phone. Scroll to the bottom of the page and see the photos for proof. ) But maybe I can sneak in a little fun now and then between vacations. But the only way it’s gonna happen is if I put it on the “must-do-today list.” Maybe I’ll give that try . . . when I get through list number 2.

PS: Did anyone notice that I didn’t use cleaning as an example on my lists? (See blog title.)
Is anyone else a compulsive listmaker? Are there support groups for the addiction?

  1. That is NOT anal! Is it?

    Must add to my list — quit making lists. Must add it to each and every daily list and put it on my calendar, too.

    Oh, gracious, we are just alike in this. I even put things I won’t forget, like bring in the garbage can. Not only do I get things done, I get the joy of marking things off the list.

    Really, I live by my lists, calendar, and PDA. Ooh, need to put on list — back up PDA. Excuse me…

  2. Todo lists are the reason I’m surviving college. no joke. My todo lists are in constant states of revision, crossing things off, adding new things, scraping a list and moving things over to a new one…
    but I do have the days where despite the list I ignore it. I’m really good at procrastinating – way too good. But I love crossing things off a list. It’s like ‘look what I did, ma!’ all over again. ‘look no hands!’ … or is it ‘look, no free time!’ …


  3. Lists! You guys are so funny! Make lists ::snort::

    I make lists, then I make lists to remind me about the other lists, then I lose them both.

    I have taken goofing off to new levels. Maybe, I’ll give this list thing another try.

    Karen Syed

  4. LJ I just love that post. I am a compulsive list maker, especially the post-it note variety…I have been known to stick them on my PDA! The thing with list is that if that’s what keeps us on track, so be it!

    I love that you write first thing in the morning. Honestly, I have to add that to my list, although that’ll mean getting up earlier, but it might be better than trying to write in the wee hours.

    Love you blog. Sue Durkin suggested I stop by for a look, and it was well worth a visit!

  5. I had a daily to do list on my computer where I’d write down everything I didn’t want to forget to do for the next few months under the current date. Needless to say, I’d only accomplish 1% of the list on any given day, and eventually I got so frustrated that I gave up. Now I have the same daily list, but I only write down things I’ve already accomplished with a pretty, red CHECK next to them – soooo satisfying! My completion rate has shot to almost 100%!

  6. There is definitely something to the list making and it goes beyond being able to check things off your list. There is a sort of intention that comes with making lists. I do, though not as often as I should. But I always keep a list of “intentions” like yours that I want to accomplish.


  7. Gahhh!! how do you have time to do any of the things ON your list what with all the list making? 🙂

    I do lists, but not quite so many…

  8. I thought it was just me. ha! I make lists, forget list, forget to check list… just forget. But I keep making them (though I don’t list feed dog, bring dog in,etc.) though that day may be coming. Ha!

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