I’m a list-maker. I really have no choice, because I have ADD and without a list I’d be stumbling around, forgetting even to put gas in the car (although I would be greatly entertained by local squirrels).
I started it in high school when I would forget things that actually mattered to me: Dates, homework deadlines, my work schedule—and, um, probably in that order. I had never heard of Attention Deficit Disorder at that time, and likely would have scoffed that I didn’t have it. But I do.
No one has diagnosed me officially, but once, at a party, I said, “I think I have ADD,” to which St. Bob blurted, “Do ya think?” as if this had been obvious for years, except to oblivious me. So, yeah, I think I have it.
At age 16 I decided to compensate. I bought a little pocket daytimer and began jotting down the where and when of my life. Soon I added a giant bobby pin to hold down a little slip of paper, on which I scribbled each day’s obligations in order. And I became the picture of dependability. Crossing off items gave me the thrill of accomplishment and productivity. I also found I could get a jump on every assignment that came down the pike, just by jotting it on a day before it was due. Bingo! I’d have it ready, turned in, and could mentally discard it, to free up my brain for, once again, squirrels. Or at least a bunch of creative writing ideas.
Which brings us to Christmas. I keep a detailed gift list in my daytimer, starting in—YES I WILL ADMIT IT: JULY. This is partly because I love checking things off my list and partly because I am cheap, and I can watch for sales and bargains all year, thus avoiding the last-minute (hence expensive) scramble for gifts in December. Hey, Santa keeps a list, too, and you don't see anyone criticizing him for it.
Every time I find a gift for someone on my list, I write it below their name and place a little check mark beside it. Or, if they hint that they want something, I write that down and keep an eye out for that item. This may sound like over-planning until I tell you that I have 32 people on my list. Now you can see why being organized is essential.
And, wouldn’t you know, I am married to a man whose memory rivals those of elephants. He never has to write down a doctor’s appointment, a person he needs to call back, and certainly not a gift he needs to buy. It’s as if he has a daytimer app in his gray matter, magically doing it all for him.
Or so I thought. The other day, he asked me to write something down and remind him about it later. I can’t recall what it was (of course), but I recall being flabbergasted that he needed my help, and I suggested he start keeping a list like I do.
Not surprisingly, he refused. “Then you’ll just have to suffer the consequences,” I said. “People who don’t make lists are listless.” Yep, I’m pretty sure that’s what that means.
And speaking of lists, check out the list of my books here, where you can order to your heart’s content. There’s something for everyone. Even non list-makers.