Me and My Lists.

By Alison August 4, 2005 2 Comments 3 Min Read

By Helen May.


My name is Helen May and I am a List-aholic.

The first step to getting over an addiction is to face up to fact that it is becoming a problem…

My life is ruled by lists. My work, my household chores, my finances, my shopping, my meals – even, I am ashamed to say, my social life. I can’t function without them. Living without them fills me with fear. What would I without them?? I’m convinced that apart from actually getting out of bed in the morning I would achieve absolutely nothing without everything being documented. I even have a file to keep them all in. I knew that it was getting desperate when I found a website where you could download a whole plethora of lists to assist you in the organisation of your household – and thought that all my Christmases had come at once (If anyone is interested the website is and what’s even better is that the list templates they provide are real pretty.).

Here is the dilemma. I like to thing of myself as a kind of “fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants” kind of girl. You know the sort – spontaneous, unpredictable, a chance taker prone to the odd occasion of recklessness. But actually this is so far from the truth it is unreal. I plan, plan and plan again. I plan my lists and I make lists of my plans. I’ve even been known to try and “Spread the Word” – despite the fact that I know waxing lyrical about the benefits of list-making doesn’t make you the most interesting dinner guest in the world…

It could be worse. This problem is pandemic! I have a friend, who shall remain nameless (Nathalie), who loves her lists so much she puts things on a list that she has already done just so she can get the satisfaction of ticking them off as achieved! Now I’m not that bad. Getting there, but not quite that bad yet.

So what’s a girl to do? I’ve done my best to go cold turkey. I made a list of how I was going to get out of the habit of making lists. It went thus

  1. Stop making lists
  2. Do all the things that would have been on the lists had I made one
  3. Panic about forgetting to do something because I haven’t made a list.
  4. Scream. Yell. Have a panic attack
  5. Give in and go make another list.

I’m a hopeless case. I think I will just have to surrender to the god of lists. I like to think I’m a very good hostess, but if you are thinking of dropping by, please call ahead first. If your name’s not on the list you’re not getting in…


Nose around more lists like the one above at


  1. Maureen says:

    My mother is also a list-a-holic!! Whenever I telephone, as soon as I say hello she says, "Wait! Let me get my list!", and I am left with the clunk of the phone and the faraway sound of her scurrying off to find one of her many lists.
    When she comes back she will proceed to go through her "Maureen" list of items she needed to tell me. Sometimes she confuses my voice with my sister's so I will get read the wrong list of action items.
    She keeps a list for everything — she even has a list of all her lists. Perhaps that's why I am so anti-list and truly do fly by the seat of my pants.
    Usually by the time my mother has finished ticking off the items on her "Maureen" list, I am too shell shocked to remember why I called in the first place.
    Forget the "I survived Catholic school" t-shirt. I need one that says, "I survived a list-a-holic mother" t-shirt!! 😉
    xx ~Maureen

  2. Savannah says:

    Something I love… To find a huge list of wishes, dreams, complaints, or tasks from several years ago and then to methodically check off all things that are either done by now or no longer important. I love that and it happens often because I don't journal chronologically through my little cute notebooks and diaries. I start many, leave them somewhere in the house, find them often a couple of years later and continue writing in them… I only wish I could have been the copyright for diary of a mad black housewife… I have no idea what that movie is about, but the title fits (almost) because I am truly and undeniably mad…. loved your post, Helen.

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