I’ve always maintained a list of things to do. In fact, at work, I carried two diaries or notepads – one in which I wrote meeting updates while the other was exclusively for my list of things that needed to be done every day. It gave me a semblance of order in my otherwise chaotic work life. I always remembered deadlines and were able to adhere to them.

Personally too, I maintained a slightly disorganised list of things to do – it was disorganised as I guess I took some liberties at home! But I always found them useful and now it’s almost second nature to maintain one.

Having said that, I never felt that these lists were etched on stone and had to be followed religiously. I made changes as I pleased, struck off stuff if I didn’t want to do them, allocated different dates if I wanted to postpone something. It never took control of my life.

Today, I saw him working on his list and it suddenly dawned that list-making can be addictive! The lists on his phone, laptop, diary and post-its rule his life. There were not only lists for work but a list of things to do at the bank, things that had to be completed over the weekend, lists of things to buy – grocery, clothes, books etc! There were long lists and short lists – some included long term plans while others that needed to be completed perhaps within the next week or month.

Was this really a way to remember all the stuff that needed to be done to live a good life? Did this make life easier? Did it ensure regularity and commitment? Did it mean life was well taken care of? Did it mean one didn’t have to think too much or lose control – after all, it was all written down and could be accomplished at will.

A long time ago, a friend once told me don’t write down the things you have to do. It will slowly become a habit and you won’t be able to remember even the simple things. She’s right. It’s now a habit, a lifeline that makes my life easier to live. I wouldn’t want to let it go!

(Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash)