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Got Christmas lists upon lists? Lisa Hess shares her strategy for dealing with multiple lists without losing track of things.

As someone with an I need to see it personal style, I'm a big fan of lists. And, having found the perfect (for me) planner, I'm usually pretty good at keeping all my lists corralled in that planner. In fact, I usually try to write all of my things to do in my planner so I don't end up with a veritable snowstorm of notes covering surfaces all over my house.


But lately, the collision of Christmas preparations, writing promotions and projects, and the end of the semester have added a blizzard of notes to the forecast. 

So, this afternoon, after loading up my online Target cart and making a quick run to the dollar store (thus eliminating two lists), I gathered up the remaining tidbits of to-dos and laid them atop my planner so I could consolidate everything this evening when I finished working. 

Anybody want to guess how many helpful little notes I ended up with?

Nine. It was eight, but then I started a new one, exclusively for the things I needed to do today when I finished my writing session—the one that kept getting postponed because of all the things on all the lists.

Oh, wait, not nine. Ten. There's also a sticky note on the front of my planner.

A certain amount of random listing is to be expected, but nine lists? Yikes! What's happening to me?

The same thing that's happening to everyone else. 'Tis the season. 




In addition to our usual to-do lists, we have planning-for-the-holidays lists (yes, that's plural). For those of us who are educators, we have wrapping-up-before-break lists and things-I-want-to-do-over-break lists. And shopping lists. 'Tis the season for plenty of those.

As with any other organizing tool, when lists are working in our service, they're useful. But when they threaten to proliferate so much that they could easily bring us a white Christmas made up of notes to ourselves, we've lost control.

A combination of age and an I need to see it personal style make lists an essential tool for me but, when my lists overflow(eth), it's time to take a step back, take stock, and take charge. 

Which is why I gathered up my collection of lists this afternoon. I know that the sheer number of things to do popping like so many popcorn kernels in my brain means that grabbing the nearest pen and scrap of paper is going to be my method for at least a few more days. Then, with grades finished and entered and end-of-semester tasks behind me, one whole category of "don't forget to ..." items will recede, and I can return to my usual method.

Or a slightly more overwhelming holiday version.

Until then, I need to make gathering those snowflake lists a daily occurrence, and updating my planner with their contents its nightly companion. Otherwise, the sheer volume of lists will be enough to undo me almost as much as trying to hold it all in my head.

And that sort of defeats the purpose.


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Take a moment to figure out how your own lists can work for you, rather than against you. #catholicmom

That's what works for me, especially since my planner is such a great place to store my lists. But that might not be what works for you. You might have a grocery list in the kitchen, a work to-do list in your office, and a miscellaneous list in your purse. Or, you might have a notebook that contains all of your lists, or an app on your phone that keeps everything straight.

What matters isn't what you do. What matters is whether or not it works for you. In this very busy season full of so much to do and (hopefully) so much to celebrate, consider taking a moment to figure out how your own lists can work for you, rather than against you.

Then show them who's boss.



Copyright 2022 Lisa Hess
Images: Canva