I like lists. Shopping lists, to-do lists, Christmas lists, lists of stuff my kids lost/broke that I may or may not be able to claim under my homeowners insurance...you get the picture. Lists make me feel productive and in control without actually doing anything AND they make me seem organized to the casual observer when in fact I'm a yard sale in a tornado. As an avid list author, I have dozens of them tacked, stacked, stuck and posted around my house like a post-it hoarder with OCD. Problem is, I rarely get around to doing any of the stuff on them.
It's not that my friends and relatives don't deserve the thank you notes I should have sent out for my kids' birthday gifts a couple of months ago, it's just that there always seems to be something more urgent to do at any given moment. Things like disarming an artistic 3 year old who is standing over a sleeping dog with a full tube of rainbow glitter glue or donning my hazmat suit to clean up a regurgitated and partially dismembered action figure that didn't quite make it all the way through the afore-mentioned dog's digestive tract.
So just in case I'm not the only one out there with a black belt in procrastination, I am going to share my solution with you as a generous public service (and quite possibly the foundation upon which we will establish world peace). Don't worry, you can thank me later by sending money or coming to my house and cleaning up dog vomit. I have discovered the path to List-maker Nirvana: I just re-name the lists! Yes, it really IS that easy, as are most solutions to mankind's most vexing problems. Fire, The Wheel, List Re-Naming - all beautiful in their simplicity and essential to human life as we know it.
So instead of a "To Do" list, I now have a "Stuff That Will Probably Go Away if I Just Ignore It Long Enough" list. So much less pressure, right? And forget that pesky "Grocery List". Who wants to deal with that stress? Not me! At this very moment tacked to the fridge is a list entitled: "Things I'd Really Like to Eat if I Still Had the Metabolism of an 18 Year Old". Below that is "A Bunch of Healthy Foods My Kids Wouldn't Touch Even if I Paid Them so Why Bother?" list. Suddenly dragging an over-tired toddler to the grocery store against his will doesn't seem like such a priority, does it? I found that list re-naming is good for my marriage too. Gone are the days of bickering over a "Honey-Do" list of chores like yard work, heavy lifting and cleaning out the gutters. Now we have an "Arduous and Slightly Dangerous Tasks We'll Pawn Off on Our Sons Once They Become Teenagers" list and my husband and I have never been closer!
The secret is being honest with yourself and establishing pathetically low standards. Are you really going to finish that Lion King quilt you're making out of your son's old pj's considering the ridicule he'd endure from the other linebackers on the varsity football team? Or arrange your coupons in an organizer so they coincide with the proper aisle in the grocery store? Or laminate the credit card bill you never paid because your kid wrote "I luve Yoo Momee" on it? Heck NO! But you change that puppy to read "Totally Unnecessary Errands To Occupy My Mind So I Don't Go Insane When I'm the Sole Survivor of the Zombie Apocalypse" list and those dark clouds of guilt drift away like magic!
If you need me, I'll be making a "People to Thank When I Receive My Nobel Peace Prize" list.