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Jeruba's avatar

If you're a list-maker, what do you make lists of, and what do you do with them?

Asked by Jeruba (47507points) January 25th, 2013

Some people just naturally manage their lives, the universe, and everything by making lists. I don’t just mean to-do lists, I mean all kinds. Lists are lovable and necessary.

If you’re one such, what kinds of lists do you make routinely, and what are apt to be one-time things? How about individual lists maintained over time?

Do you then obey them, preserve them, cross them off, discard them, destroy them, hide them, recopy them, or what?

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29 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

What to do when I am out and about.

There is also the sublist of what to buy at my various stops.

I then usually lose them (lists) after I am in the car but before I arrive at the market.

I do have various scraps and shreds everywhere that I burn in my wood-burning stove.

My usual chores are post office, country store, gas, cash, food, library, pharmacy

Pachy's avatar

I’m never listless! I make to-do lists constantly on sticky pads that I keep all over the house. I always have a sticky list or two when I go out to run errands, and I love crossing off tasks as I complete them. When I washed my car last weekend I found three or four stickies under the seat, all completed.

I also have a little budget book that I tote around everywhere.

The main reason I make lists is because my memory ain’t what she used to be.

Shippy's avatar

I don’t make lists, but I probably should. Now that I am nearing a huge move, I am going to start. I do think they are useful. I have a great memory so rely on that. But I reckon I don’t do many things I should due to having no lists.

bookish1's avatar

I make lists. But they are more often wishful thinking than hard “to-do” lists. I have a pretty good memory, but I am very abstract-random and have trouble getting things done in sequence without making a list.

I have lists for all 3 grocery stores that I visit. I have lists of recipes to try. I have lists of steps to finish for my grants (soon to be done with those for a while!) Lists of books to read (when I have time off from reading all the books I must read right now), lists of movies to watch. I keep lists of history ideas for later on in my career.

Almost all of my lists except for the career-related ones are on sticky notes. They end up all over my apartment. And my car. And in my pockets. It sounds chaotic, and it is. It’s worked for me so far…

Earthgirl's avatar

Oh I am quite a list maker…and over time the types of lists that I make have changed.
When I was younger I was big on self improvement lists and new year’s resolutions. I have found that those lists only create anxiety over how far I am from my ideals and are really not very helpful. But perhaps that’s because, by now, my goals are so internalized that I don’t need to write them down.

Then there are the practical, to-do lists. Even if I write them and never look at them again they help me to clarify what needs to get done. I’ve been gratified to find some of these lists years later and find that I have actually made good progress on the list. That’s good because I tend to underestimate myself. I have so many aspirations and I so often fall short of them.

One thing that is always on my list is to call Mom….I’m like F’****&^%#ing ET! Phone home…why is that so hard?

wildpotato's avatar

Lots. I have a very poor memory for many things. Here is a list of most of my current lists: errands to run, things to buy, music I want to remind myself to look up later and that I can’t Shazam (classical pieces, mostly), movies, TV, short stories, wines, visual art, articles, and comics I notice or that people tell me to check out (I keep my book list by downloading ebook samples on Kindle), words I have looked up, gifts it occurs to me to get for people at their next birthday or holiday, stuff I still need in order to fully outfit my boat, the license plates and descriptions of the parking lot scammers I have reported to the police (quite a few), names of hospital staff who cared for my grandma and who I need to get chocolates and thank-you cards for, possible wedding locations, tentative wedding party list, things to remember to tell my therapist this week, schools I’m going to apply to next year, my extremely detailed camping list, kayaking list, kayak-camping list, and cabin list, things to yard sale when it gets warmer, my 56 favoritest movies (made it just for fun one day, to see how many I could write down without thinking about it), and things my grandma gave me (to help keep track of her estate).

I keep all my lists on my iPhone because I lose sticky notes almost immediately, and because I like to have them at hand for when I need them. Before cell phones came around I kept lists on my hands and arms, in pen, and refreshed them when the markings got faint from washing. My parents hated it.

I delete the everyday ones or errands and such when I complete them, but not the ones that contain info I like to use for reference. Lists of media to pursue grow and shrink as I follow up with them, but never disappear entirely. I also save some that are completely out of date, like questions I listed out to ask my vet. The pooch and I saw the vet ages ago, but I want to keep the list to remind myself what her issues were at the time.

gailcalled's avatar

I forgot to add that I use pencil and paper.

Jeruba's avatar

Besides shopping lists and errand lists and little ongoing lists for the next trip to the drugstore, hardware store, etc., I keep a large assortment of major and minor lists, some on handwritten notes and some safely preserved in Word files on my computer.

There’s the master packing list for trips to the mountain cottage and for other trips (with variations by weather, time of year, and length of stay) and supplementary shopping lists, modified as needed for each upcoming trip.

There’s the family names and addresses and the more comprehensive Christmas card list of friends old and new. There’s a list of what gift wrapping and decorative items I need for next year and should buy around December 1st.

There are such lists as states I have visited and doctors my son has seen and (recently) books I have read.

I have checklists, memory-aid lists, lists of locations for favorite recipes, and lists of things to ask my doctor on my next visit. Right now I have a list of people I want to write actual paper-and-postage letters to. There’s even a list of everything I had in my pockets on one New Year’s Day, a list of things I wish I’d known when I was 16 but didn’t, and a list of people to notify when I die.

I used to have a list of things to bitch to God about when I got to heaven, but I don’t keep that one up any more.

AmWiser's avatar

Before I had an e-reader, I use to make a list of books I had on hand (especially of certain authors), so that I wouldn’t buy duplicates. I also keep a list of shoes (color and style) that I own, so that I don’t buy similar. (I know, sad). I also keep a list of songs that I hear while driving that I want to download (someday). I often misplace these lists. My favorite lists are my daily to-do list, and crossing off each task as I complete it.

Coloma's avatar

Current lists scattered all over my kitchen counters.
-Take out trash
-Clean litter boxes
-Transfer cash into checking acct.
-Open ended grocery list ( Quick! Add coffee creamer, tinfoil and SOS pads! )

The worst are my creative lists, scratching down comedy topics as they zing into my consciousness. I have notebooks EVERYWHERE for those zinger moments!
Yep, I’m a list maker, but not because I am an anal personality, nope, because I am so ditzy at times that I would forget my own name.
Aaaah the price one pays being half brilliant and half completely looney. lol

Coloma's avatar

@Pachyderm_In_The_Room How has your memory turned into a “she”?
Is fading memory meant to be named like a boat?
The S.S. Alzheimer

YARNLADY's avatar

My husband is a believer in lists, so I help him when I can. I write down groceries we need for him to check off his computer generated list. I get an extra copy of our travel list and help him check off things as they are packed.

We once made a going home list for our kindergartner, because he kept forgetting things. He’s used to taking his stuff now.

CWOTUS's avatar

You can create small shopping lists, task lists, calendars, reference sheets, mini-address books, whatever you need. Print them out on regular 8–½×11 paper, then cut and fold up to a mini booklet. I’ve been using them for years; I even prefer this to making entries on my cell phone or pad sometimes. It’s definitely quicker and cheaper.

Bellatrix's avatar

I have multiple ‘to-do’ lists for home and work (paper and digital).
Lists of books I want to read and films I want to see (paper and digital).
I have a list of goals I want to achieve in my life (short medium and long term) (paper).
I make shopping lists (mostly paper).
Lists of clothes to take away with me and other things I need to remember.
Lists of Christmas and birthday presents I have bought or need to buy.

Some I have had for years (my goals). Others I throw away when I have finished with them. My work lists I keep to use when I have to document my progress for my staff review. It’s amazing what you forget to include. I keep some lists so I can refer back to books I have read or films I have seen because again, it’s amazing what you forget.

JLeslie's avatar

In my personal life I make to do lists and shopping lists. Neither I do consistently, but I do them enough that I think they count. The to do lists I do refer to the majority of the time and cross things off as I do them. The shopping lists I ofetn forget or don’t look at carefully while shopping. Just the act of writing things down helps me put things in my head. So the list is not a waste, even if I don’t refer back to it.

At work I kept a running to do list on my steno pad, which I used very effectively.

jca's avatar

Sometimes shopping lists but more often I will make that list in my head (just the critical items). As a trick to remember, I’ll remember the first letter of each item I need (today it was card and caulk so it was “C and C”).

When I travel I will make a list of things to take. If I don’t, I’ll inevitably forget something.

Sunny2's avatar

I make lists to keep me on track because my memory is intermittently sieve-like. Sometimes I make the same list twice or 3 times because I can’t find where I put it. If I’m planning a dinner party, my lists are very detailed including when, how and where (if necessary) each item should be accomplished. Works for me.

rooeytoo's avatar

My brain seems to have developed some rather large holes and things are constantly getting lost so I make lists of movies I want to watch, what I need at the grocery store and hardware store, books I want to read, things I have to do, recipes I want to try, carvings I want to make, photos I want to paint, furniture designs I want to build, new ideas for toys to make for the cockatoo, what to get my husband for Christmas or birthday. There are as many topics for lists as there are things in my head.

Thank goodness for the iphone and laptop or I would be drowning in paper lists and the forests of the world would be falling at an even more rapid rate than they already are!

desiree333's avatar

Book I want to read
Tattoo ideas I don’t want to forget
Quotes that I enjoy; and positive affirmation-type things to read when I’m feeling sad
Ingredients to look for in skin products to help with certain issues, like redness
Things I need to buy; things I want to buy in the future
Piercings I’m thinking about, and the locations so I can tell the piercer without having to think about it (ex. tragus on left, triple helix on right).
Weekly lists of studying I need to do, due dates, readings, papers

Berserker's avatar

Sometimes I make to do list, in case I think I might forget something. I also make video game lists. Say I’m playing a game, I usually end up making lists of areas that I can’t access yet, or monsters I can’t beat or whatever. So that I know where to go to once I think I obtained some item or ability that might open up more of the game. Most of those lists are kind of useless because I always, mostly, remember all the places that I made a mental check to go back to again. But they’re nice to have, if you found something in the first 20 minutes and can only access it with some item you get 30 hours late in the game.

augustlan's avatar

I keep a steno-sized spiral notebook on my desk at all times (with one of my favorite pens resting on top of an open page), because I write down all sorts of crap there. It’s literally inches from my right hand, and I’d be lost without it! Sometimes, there is an actual, on-purpose, organized list…usually a grocery list, sometimes a to-do list for some project or another. Most of the time, though, what I’m writing down is random things I need to remember. My memory absolutely sucks! I hesitate to even call them lists, because as the page fills up, I will write any which way, in any bit of clear space left.

On any one piece of paper, there will be a jumbled “list” including: a phone call I need to make, a bill I need to pay, the name of that actor I couldn’t remember last night, a book I want to read, a movie I want to add to my Netflix queue, a work-related note (or 6), various numerical items I only need to remember for a minute or two, something I want to look up, cryptic notes to myself (“Oil!”) and on and on.

Aside from the grocery lists, most of these pieces of paper never get torn out of the book. Saving them has proved very helpful to me, many times. I’ll remember that I wrote some bit of info down at some point, and just flip through my book ‘til I find it. I go through it every so often and throw away anything that’s not useful any more, but on nearly every page there is at least one thing I still need to remember. When it’s time to buy a new notebook (and oh, how I love buying a new notebook!), I’ll transfer all those “one-offs” to a new list in the new book.

Sometimes I scribble things out or check them off, sometimes I don’t. Despite all of this list making, I frequently forget to look at my lists. For very important items, I put a reminder alarm in my phone. If I remember to.

Mariah's avatar

I remember being in the third grade and realizing that making lists and crossing things off made me feel less nervous. I’ve been a chronic list maker ever since.

Here’s a list of the lists I currently have going:
Homework to do list
Questions to ask when I tour an apartment tomorrow
Questions to ask when I next see my doctor
My bird list (birds I’ve seen in my life)
Fictional birds I have made up in my dreams
Drawing ideas
Needlefelting ideas
Ideas for comedy sketches to write for the group I’m in
Piano songs I want to learn
Piano songs I know and should record

mangeons's avatar

I’m an avid list-maker, and I make them often!

I have several ongoing lists at the moment, including movies I need to watch, songs I want to put on my iPod, nail polishes I want to buy, books I want to read, and so on and so forth.

With the start of the new semester, I now actually have homework, so I’ve started using my fruit-patterned (I love stuff with fruit printed on it, I have no idea why!) planner to write down my homework assignments for each night and cross them off as I go.

I also frequently go to the grocery store with my dad, so I’m responsible for making grocery lists whenever we go.

During the summer, I often make daily to-do lists of what I want to get accomplished that day, so that my free days don’t pass by without me getting at least something done.

I’ll also make a note of something on my phone or iPod if I’m out and about and find something that I want to look into later, like song lyrics or the author of a book. I also often put the hours of driving that I do into my phone so that I remember to record them in my handbook later.

Some of these lists reside on my laptop (usually the ongoing ones that are always being added to), some on my iPod touch or phone (random things that I want/need to remember later), while others are on paper (homework assignments and grocery lists), and some are on the big dry-erase board that hangs in my bedroom (to-do lists, mostly).

I’m a list enthusiast!

flutherother's avatar

This is my ‘list of lists’.

Stuff to remember to take on holiday
Friends and relatives contact details
Online passwords
List of ingredients for favourite recipes
A list of appliances and where and when I bought them
Regular household expenses.

Like @augustlan I keep a spiral notepad on my desk where I write down all sorts of things I have to remember.

Jeruba's avatar

Here we have some outstanding examples of people who confront the universe armed with a pad and pencil. Thank you.

This reminds me of one of my favorite stories of my elder son. When he was about three, I saw him making a row of wiggly lines on a piece of paper. “Honey, what are you doing?”

“I’m making a list,” he said with some pride.

Holy smokes, I thought, I didn’t know that was genetic.

“What does it say?” I asked.

He gave me one of those looks that children reserve for their imbecilic parents and replied in a tone of exasperation: “I don’t know, Mum. I can’t read yet.”

flutherother's avatar

@Jeruba That’s funny!

Coloma's avatar

@augustlan Haha..I do the same thing, write in every little open space, sideways, upside down, and then, I either cannot decipher my cryptic codes later or, have to re-write the list again.
@Jeruba Priceless!

Earthgirl's avatar

@Jeruba That is priceless! I love it. I make so many lists that lists of lists would not be out of order, lol.

Jeruba's avatar

Here’s a revival of this question in November of 2015.

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