The Enormous List

By Alison November 4, 2014 7 Comments 2 Min Read

Did your head ever feel so full of things to-do, things-that-should-be-done, worries and ideas that you start to suspect that left to its own devices it might just blow off? Yep. Me too. Somedays I wake up frankly astonished to find my head still attached to my neck, so likely does the possibility of spontaneous explosion seem to be.
Last night in a state of rather demented delirium, I decided to great a grip. You see working on the theory that it is better out than in, I sat down with a pretty notepad, a tiny pen and a cup of tea and I made a list. A big list! An enormous, ginormous, no holds barred, no boundaries list, that would probably take a code-breaker years to crack so random are the two hundred and thirty nine things on it.
You see once I started writing I couldn’t stop, and I am pretty sure I am not finished yet! I wrote down dreams, and ideas, and worries, and plans and teeny tiny to-do’s like “flea treatment for cat” and “buy dishwasher tablets” in a random fashion. A dream to own something in ten years time, next to a phone call I need to make this morning.  A quote I want to remind myself of. Brocantehome to-do’s, next to an instruction to book blood tests, (followed by an inordinate amount of outraged explanation marks for these are blood tests overdue by ummmm, three months). You name it, if it was in my head last night, I wrote it down. And oh my, how very much better I feel for spilling it on to creamy paper.
You see a person cannot think straight when a person’s thoughts are so wiggly they are lost in translation and bump up against too many other thoughts. A person cannot be expected to remember to buy batteries, take vitamins, write a newsletter and the first line of a possible novel if a person also needs to search the cupboard for a tin of spanish paprika she knows she owns,  source a game of Cluedo peopled by the characters of The Big Bang Theory for Father Christmas, respond to her sisters wedding invitation, find a dress to wear to said wedding, and work out how many years are left on her mortgage. Things slip through the net you see. Particularly when a persons head is foggy with a little list of troubles she likes to keep shoved in a dark cupboard in the far recesses of her muddly mind.
So the answer is, an ENORMOUS LIST. Now I did think about adding it to my usual task lists here on the internets, but it struck me that the very best place to keep an on-going list was right in front of me on this here coffee table so I can review it every time I sit down with a cuppa (often then) and try in my  own way to keep on top of this thing I like to call my life. I simply cannot ignore my enormous list when it is right in front of me and will need, at the very least, shuffling to order, at least a couple of times a day.
And so here I am. With a head free of two hundred and thirty nine thoughts that were getting on my nerves and rendering me static. Now all I need to do is start ticking them off and remembering to add new ones as I go along, so never again do I reach this state of lunacy.
Won’t you do the same? I recommend it whole-heartedly. 


  1. Helena says:

    I did something similar back in September. Not quite as grand in scale, but essentially a list of all the things I needed to do, make, buy, organize etc between then and the end of the year. Two pages later, I felt much better because at least I wasn’t trying to remember it all. And yes, things like “critters to vet” were right next to “knit baby blanket” and work deadlines, but it does me no good to try to remember it all because I will forget something and will drive myself mad trying to remember what I’ve forgotten. 🙂 Also important is to go back to the list regularly to check off the things one has done, so the enormity of The List does not hang over one’s head!

  2. Mimi xx says:

    When I was managing an office and had more work than hours to do it in, I used to use little index record cards, one for each task. Wrote them down in whatever order they poured out of my mind in, and then I could sort them into piles of alike tasks.
    I wonder just how much brain power we use up trying to remember to do things…

  3. ElaineP says:

    I haven’t counted the things on my list – but I used the spare pages in the back of my diary, and then filled the empty bits of January and February of 2014. I’ll be drawing a big red line through any missions accomplished and will be tucking these raggedy pages into my new 2015 diary. Yes, I really agree that writing stuff down – even the scarey bits – feels better than leaving them stuck in my head (where they’re prone to having a shindy at 4am). Next – the monthly budget – I will get these avoidances sorted, yes I will! Do you think this is a back-to-school/new season thing?
    Love to all the listmakers :)) xxxx

  4. Sandi Moran says:

    So happy to read whatever you write-including your lists!

  5. Karla Neese says:

    Oh what a smart thing to do!! Sometimes I worry with all the things swirling around I’ll simply lose something important inside my head. Now my problem is too many notepads and apps filled with too many lists and I can’t keep them all straight. Enter the Evernote program!! I’m loving it.

  6. Alison C says:

    I make lists all the time. Besides my handwritten “book of lists” I use “Ultimate To Do List” app which syncs across my phone, kindle and pc . I can give dates to jobs with scheduled repeats and it emails me daily due list reminders every day. It is a brilliant piece of kit.

  7. Alison C says:

    I also empty my mind last thing at night by making a list of all the random things that I need to do or remember for the next day so I can sleep without worrying I might forget something.

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