To Do or Not To Do… How the List Can Help

If you’re anything like me your brain is on overdrive 24/7. I am constantly thinking about things not only to do with my writing, but in my everyday life as well. Sometimes I feel like my brain is about to explode because there’s way too much stuff in it. Generally I have a pretty good memory, but on my brain-explode days I have no hope of even remembering what I had for breakfast. It’s a wonder I remember to breathe, and sometimes I even forget that.

My overloaded brain gets me into trouble all the time, but I find this happens mostly when I don’t write things down. This is where the humble list comes in. A list is your friend and saviour from these forgetful situations. Use a list for anything and everything—even if it’s to remind yourself to breathe. Embrace the art of list writing and you’ll never forget your five-year-old’s dance concert, or when the tooth fairy is due to visit. (Both things I have forgotten, and on more than one occasion.) A list will help you remember your best friend’s birthday and avoid that awkward moment when they remind you what day it is. (Yes, this recently happened to me, and it’s also not the first time.)

I like to have a daily list that I write in the morning over my toast and cup of tea. This encompasses all the things I have to do along with those I want to do. I’m not fussy on what order the tasks are in, but sometimes it helps to arrange them in order of urgency. Usually I’ll just write down whatever comes to me in whatever order.

To try to combat my inappropriate forgetfulness and sometimes blatant stupidity, I use a number of devices in conjunction with my lists. I have a calendar that hangs in the family room where I write down all the things that are happening for the month. Extra work days, outings, school events, birthdays (although it doesn’t work if you don’t write it on the calendar in the first place) and so on. I also have a white board with a pin board underneath that I use just for school. The white board has a list of all the things I need to remember each morning for my two children—library, news, music, sport, banking etc. Monday is my favourite school day because all I have to remember is to pack their lunch and make sure they leave the house looking semi-okay. The pin board holds all the notes for excursions and other stuff.

Whether you have a board, calendar, diary or notebook, it doesn’t matter. Whatever works to help keep our crazy lives in order is a good thing, because I find if my brain is organised I get more done at a quicker rate. And when I get things done that I HAVE to do, it leaves more time for the things I WANT to do, which means (hopefully) more writing time. Sadly, at the moment there are so many things that need to come before my writing, so every spare minute counts.

This is the list I wrote the morning of the day I scheduled this post. Sometimes there are only a few things I write down, and other days I fill the page.


Before you go off and write your list for the day, there are two more things I want to point out.

Firstly, you can cheat. By that I mean if you do something that wasn’t on the list for the day, add it to the list then cross it off. It will make you feel better because you achieved something. I’ve even been known to write down things like ‘do washing’ (even though it’s something that always gets done) just so I have something to cross off, because there are days that nothing gets done no matter how long or short the list is.

Secondly, don’t get stressed if you haven’t crossed everything off by the time you go to bed. There is always tomorrow 🙂

K. A. Last is a YA author of Fall For Me and Sacrifice. She drinks lots of tea, is obsessed with Buffy, and loves all things pink. K. A. Last hangs out on Facebook or you can find her on twitter and Goodreads. She’s also been known to blog once in a while.


One Comment

  1. I agree, notes are fantastic. My only problem is sometimes I forget to come back to them and I find notebooks at the end of the year with one page filled in…

    But generally I use notes all the time. I have a book with the next two months planned out for my launch, I have a magnetic blackboard on the fridge for events/my random work roster (which apparently nobody reads anyway, except me, because every Saturday as I gloomily trudge off to work, they ask “What time are you working ’till?” Reminding me that I’m going to work… for 7 hours.)

    Ahh well. Gotta fund this project somehow. Paying my dues…paying my dues…



Leave a comment. We love hearing from you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s