In praise of to do lists

I am, and always have been, a huge fan of to do lists, preferably on paper.

  • writing things down helps me remember them better
  • it feels so good to cross things off once they are done
  • dumping things from my brain to paper takes off pressure to remember them, and creates mental space for me to concentrate on other things
  • seeing things on paper helps me prioritise them, and also see things that really are not necessary to do.

My way of keeping lists is a mixture of making my to do list for the coming week on Sunday according to my work schedule, and then jotting things down as I go during the week. When I am teaching a class and I promise to send them a link or exercise, I write it down immediately or I will forget it by the time the lesson is over.

I think many women carry a mental load of which they are unaware. A women is generally the person who remembers all the family birthdays, is responsible for buying birthday and Christmas gifts, remembers family dentist appointments and school sporting events, creates the grocery lists, knows when school projects need to be done and what needs to be bought to complete it etc etc. Even if other people actually carry out the tasks, women often take the mental load of remembering what happens when. And for me, paper is always the way to go.

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

2 thoughts

  1. Since the pandemic I have bought a a5 page a day. Where I can put my to do and appointments. its not pretty but it does the job and kept me on track.

  2. I am a reluctant user of the To Do or task list. I find that writing the task down tells my brain that I’ve taken some action where, of course, I haven’t. I am very much an out of sight, out of mind person and find it very easy to ignore things when they are on my mind. Also, I sometimes find if I’m in an overload situation creating a long list of things that need to be done can demoralise me further. It can be better then to just tell myself “write down the top three things that have to be done”, do those, then move on to another three. But writing it on paper is much better than putting it in a digital format where, even with all the prompts and electronic nagging, it doesn’t have any kind of physical presence in the world any more.

Leave a Reply