List-Free Living - Is it Possible?


The other week I blogged about wanting to try a "no-list" approach to getting things done, and let me tell you, that was the PERFECT week to be list free. Both my girls caught colds and I spent countless hours trying to keep Leolani's nose clear. Because Leo's so young, I took her to the doctor who ordered blood drawn and x-rays and follow up appointments, all of which I wasn't planning. I was so worn out from night after night of barely any sleep and shuttling back and forth to the doctor (I should've just camped there) that my list would've gone untouched if I had one.

After thinking about this for several days, I wondered why I didn't need a list last week, and came to the conclusion that it was because I was so laser focused on what needed to be done at the moment, that a list became irrelevant. The things I needed to get done got done, and everything else didn't matter. My priorities were my daughters' well being and making sure the house was livable and that we were eating. That was it. I was also very aware of my limited energy so I couldn't do everything. I had to pick and choose.

I suppose it's relatively easy when you're in survival mode to live list-free, but what about the rest of the time? Is it possible to be so clear about our priorities that we can instantly know what we must do in every moment of every day? If it is possible, it requires some SERIOUS editing. I think the way most of our lives are, we need lists to remember everything we're juggling.

I still need lists, and will probably always need lists. They help me remember stuff - grocery lists, packing lists, lists on days I have a crazy amount of errands to run, wish lists, etc. But I want lists to enhance my life - to help me remember that video game my husband mentioned he wants for his birthday, or that we need balloons and candles for the birthday party, or to read that book my girlfriend told me about, not crack a whip over my head. I think that's what we all want.

I for one will continue to use lists as a general guideline. Right now I have a working grocery list, a list of what needs to be done in my daughters' room in order for it to be "complete," lists of blog ideas, business plans, books to read, organizational projects and a wish list. I add to them whenever I feel the need, and visit these every week or so to either plan to take action or cross things off that have been sitting incomplete for too long. Things I plan to do soon get sent to "Today" so I'll be more aware of it, but that doesn't mean it needs to get done right away, just sooner than the things that aren't in "Today." Having these gentle reminders keeps me moving in the right direction but honors my need to be flexible for my kids. I think this is a good set up for now - subject to change.

What do you think? Is it possible to edit our lives so far down that we can throw our lists away? Or will you always keep a pad and paper (virtual or otherwise) nearby?