To Do Or Not To Do

Another Every Wednesday Post…

I am toying with the idea of not having a to-do list. Would that really be possible? I don’t remember having one in college and I was fine.  It’s probably not completely feasible.  For one, I would still have to keep the following lists:

  1. To-do list for work (I don’t think boss would appreciate my ban on lists)
  2. A shopping list (I don’t want to wander around the supermarket for hours)
  3. Calendar for appointments (I think doctors don’t like it if you forget appointments)

However, it would be nice to wake up on a to-do list to follow and check off.  What would that day look like?  Would I run out of underwear? Would I run out of food? Would I forget to pay bills?  Would I remember to have fun? 

I think I have a “fear” of not planning and this goes beyond to-do list of chores and errands. To sum it up, if you remember that fable about the grasshopper and the ant, I don’t want to be the grasshopper.  I fear that if I give in to my grasshopper tendencies, five years will go by and I will be in the same spot, a spot that I don’t love very much. 

While I don’t think planning life to the last detail is great or even really feasible, I do think that planners I’ve met accomplish more than those who live day-to-day.  That’s not a bad thing if your goal is to just enjoy life, but I think most of us do have goals, big or small, that would make us feel happier but can be easily forgotten in the frenzy of life.

Do you keep a to-do list? Could you live an unplanned life?

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7 responses to “To Do Or Not To Do

  1. Like you I have a work to-do list, shopping lists (sometimes) and a calendar, but I don’t usually make to-do list for everyday life. Or at least not a written one. 🙂 Every once in awhile when I can’t stop thinking about how much I need to do I’ll write it down. It helps me stop worrying. And there’s something I find satisfying about crossing things off the list.

  2. I don’t know that I’ve ever been good about setting larger life goals, but I have set a few milestones. The most recent one I can think of is that I wanted to own a home before I turned 40, and we made it with four months to spare! And I do love having our own place. But I didn’t do any real planning–I saved money and benefited from generous parents, and eventually we figured out what we could afford and started looking at neighborhoods.

  3. I am very similar to Candi….I have a work to do/diary/calendar and shopping list….which I forget and leave at home half of the time. I have to know what is going on with my family…. I have two teenagers who both school and work part time and a hubby that works shifts…so a calendar and diary(in my handbag) is an absolute must. But other than that I try to be flexible. I guess the key to it is balance…..not so organised, that you don’t have time for spontianaity and not too unstrucutred that nothing gets done????

  4. Having a calendar is enough I think. Plus, I hate planning, mostly because all of the best things that have happened to me have been unplanned. So perhaps by now I have a fear of planning… and you’ve just inspired my blog post this weekend! Here’s a quote from Hitchens’ autobiography for you:
    “One always has the vague illusion of taking or making one’s own decisions, the illusion itself running in parallel with the awareness that most such calls are made for you by other people, or by circumstances, or just made.”

  5. I read this today and thought of you: it’s a philosophical look at lists! http://www.theawl.com/2012/02/why-we-are-fascinated-by-lists

  6. I love all the interesting comments but I’m not feeling well today so I just have to say thank JNU for the quote and link — gives me a lot to think about. Who would have thought that list-making could be such an interesting topic?

  7. I love lists and planning because it gives me a false sense of control. It bolsters the delusion of security! Oh, it does so many things. But I have to agree with JN. Some of the best things that have happened to me were by complete chance, with no planning involved.

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