Lists are great! They can be highly functional, informational, entertaining and, of course, are quick and easy to read. And they are everywhere. Wherever I click on the Internet, I am faced with a list. The 7 Bests Ways To…, The 10 Worst Places To…, The 8 Sexiest Things… But reading so many lists is beginning to change me. Alter my psyche. And I am worried, petrified even, that I am beginning to adopt a very dangerous mindset. Just this morning, as I was preparing breakfast for my family, all I could think about were 6 Different Ways to Eat Strawberries, and 9 Different Ways to Prepare Eggs. Then I moved into The 4 Quickest Routes to School, and The 3 Different Ways to Fold Underpants. Is my life really that simple? Can my day really be translated into a series of lists? Today, post-divorce, and enjoying my independence, I’m going to challenge myself. I’m going to fly by the seat of my pants, live my life, but not according to a list. So, here’s my list how to not turn your life into another damn list.
1. Change it up. I’m a huge fan of organization. Except when it starts to become ritualistic. In order to prevent your to-do list from taking over your life, change it up! Do things out of order. You may actually find your list works better in a different sequence.
2. Be spontaneous. Just because you make a list doesn’t mean you have to follow it. Say you have a list of chores to complete, but today the sun is shining and the air is warm. Take advantage of it, and do something fun! No doubt your list will still be there tomorrow.
3. Keep an open mind. Lists are not written in stone. Well, maybe the Ten Commandments were, but that’s beside the point. Listen to others. Someone may come up with a better way to accomplish one of your tasks or reach your goals. “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.” (Abraham Lincoln)
4. Forgive yourself. So you didn’t complete your list. Who cares? What’s the worst that can happen? Ten plagues? Wait, another list!
5. Think outside the box. Deliberately try to deviate from your list. Come up with new ideas, alternatives, if what you’re doing isn’t working for you.
6. Stop quantifying. Life is not a zero-sum game. You’re alive, so live.
7. See the big picture. Lists are great, until you can’t see the forest for the trees. If that’s the case, ditch the list. You’ll survive. Locusts can actually be kind of cute, don’t you think?