Listing Lists Relieves Listlessness

Oh, this weather, this dreadful weather. I love the seasons, I really do, but this in-between stuff just makes me want to lay on the couch and nap. The dark, the snow, the cold – it’s a recipe for hibernation that’s hard to ignore.

I have a lot of projects I want to get to now that I have the time, but the motivation is gone. I get all revved up at work with ideas of all the great things I will do later on because my evening is wide open, and once I get home … nothing happens.

I get home, it’s dark. I walk the dog in the cutting wind or the prickly rain, and when I get back I just want to curl up in a ball and binge watch something on Acorn TV, like Detectorists, my latest infatuation.

Each time I think I’m really going to get to it, but no. I have lists of all the things I plan to do. Short term, long term, lists for the day, the afternoon, bucket lists, gift lists, and so many others. I’ve forgotten lists I’ve made and find them from time to time. Sometimes I save them, because reviewing them after years have passed can be interesting and entertaining. They reflect what was on my mind and important to me at the time.

This is probably not a surprise if you’re a regular reader, since you probably already know about how much I enjoy filling up a blank sheet of paper. I also make lists because I’m not the greatest time manager, and this helps a great deal. I’m also easily distracted, and lists keep me focused.

Most of the time.

Countless times have I spent a Saturday afternoon fiddling about with various things, eventually ending up at the kitchen counter, catching sight of the original list of afternoon activities, only to discover I’ve done nothing on the actual list.

I’ve sometimes pondered whether my list-making habit borders on the obsessive. Typically at the end of any given week I have so many little slips of paper and post-its that I will sit and attempt to cull them down, organizing them into categories.

I probably do have some sort of problem, but it’s not hurting anyone and it keeps the paper industry going, so I’m not too concerned.

A computer whiz friend of mine introduced me to the Palm Pilot many years ago. Remember those? He thought I would really enjoy using one. It took a bit of convincing, and I eventually purchased a knock-off that didn’t cost quite so much. It took a long time to get the hang of it, but once I did, I found it very helpful.

It was like having an electronic post-it note that I could reference easily with a simple search. This was before cellphones, and it held my whole world. Contacts, birthdays, addresses, appointments … and my precious lists.

Eventually I bought a tablet, because technology had changed so much that the hand-held devices became obsolete and I was concerned about losing all my carefully organized information. Once I familiarized myself with it, I painstakingly transferred all the lists to the new magic box through an application called Evernote.

Evernote is a very simple app that saves all the great thoughts I have had, as well as the thoughts and words of others I have found very interesting and worthy of saving. Some of these lists are very practical, some are for reference, and some are just for plain fun.

What are they, you ask?

Beside the typical lists on healthy foods and diets, great exercises and a list of where to go in town for good service, there are a few more unusual ones. Here, in no particular order, is a peek at some of the things I like to bother myself with on a regular basis…

  • Karaoke I Sing Well
  • 15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy
  • Secret of a Carefree Life
  • List of Collective Nouns (as in, a ‘crash’ of rhinoceroses)
  • Ten things I want my 10-year-old daughter to know (But really, it’s for a daughter of any age)
  • Top Ten Tips for being Negativity Free
  • She Let Go (a self-affirming poem)
  • Fido Care 101 (a list for friends who care for my dog while I’m away)
  • Books People Re-Read
  • Duffel Bag for Theater (during long rehearsals, it’s good to have things you need)
  • Walk Wisconsin Needs (stuff I want in my backpack for the trek)
  • Strange things people have said to me (believe it or not)
  • Costume Ideas (Halloween’s my favorite holiday)
  • Things I Need For The House
  • Donations
  • Audition Song Ideas (I can never think of good ones when they finally roll around)
  • Lyrics to Look Up
  • Trips I Want To Take
  • Music To Buy
  • Books To Read
  • Movies To Rent (people are always suggesting great movies to watch and when I finally get to the video store, I’m blank)
  • Tailgating Needs
  • (And my very favorite…) Homophones.

You probably remember them as Homonyms, but it’s the same thing – words that sound the same but are spelled differently. I collect them. I have them broken out into sets of two, three and even four… well, I did mention it might be a problem, didn’t I?

It’s comforting to know that all my lists are safe and sound, and can be accessed at a moment’s notice, when the mood strikes. Still, given all this, there truly is nothing better on a dark, cold, windy night than indulging in the utter rebellion of curling up on the couch with a favorite movie and ignoring every single one of those lists, and doing nothing at all.

Technology can be a very wonderful thing, indeed.

Originally published November 22, 2013 – with some edits. Image courtesy of Gerd Altmann, Pixabay

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