Hi. I’m Lindsey, and I’m addicted to making lists in Excel.
You know how it starts. You’re laying in bed, waiting to fall asleep, and the list runs through your head: we’re nearly out of mayo. The kid has show and tell on Monday. Did I pay the gas bill? I need an oil change. Remember to get the chicken out of the freezer for dinner on Wednesday. Do I need to write this down? nahh, I’ll remember. You know what happens next, right? You don’t remember. womp-wommmp (sad trombone)
Some of you are OK with not remembering. But if you aren’t, you start figuring out that if you just write everything down, you’ll remember. And then when you do what’s on the list? You get to cross it out. It’s a rush, man. Sometimes I even write things down AFTER I’ve done them, just so I can cross them off. (Look, some days I need it, OK?)
So you become one of us – a list maker. What’s your poison – scrap paper? your hand? Evernote? a special notebook? ahhh.. the list notebook. That’s just a gateway drug, especially when you are working with the mamma-jamma of lists: the to-do list. Grocery lists are the baby aspirin of the list making world. But to-do lists! Lists that have at least 5 days of prep work – those are like heroin for list junkies. Am I talking your language? Or are you re-reading that sentence again, going “what? what possibly takes 5 days of prep work?” (I’m looking at you, Husband.) Come with me, into my world of ridiculousness.
Sarah Kate’s birthday party is next Saturday. After a work trip, organizing a wedding shower for a co-worker, and SK’s first day of school added to the normal craziness of life, I’m a little behind. So to make myself feel better (or get my fix) I open up Excel. Look at all those little boxes, just waiting to be filled! So much promise! Start with today, list the days across the top of the columns, ending on Saturday (the target date). Then just work backwards. I know I have to bake cake pops on Friday night. Saturday morning I have a meeting from 9-12, so someone else needs to pick up balloons. I’ll decorate Friday afternoon. Thursday I can grocery shop. That leaves Sat/Sun/Mon/Tues/Wed to fill in the rest – house cleaning, laundry, dinner, whatever. And the beauty of Excel is that if something changes, or doesn’t happen one night, move it to the next. Then while you’re thinking about it, add a column on the same sheet and type out your grocery list. Then what you need from Costco. Or a “do I already have this in the pantry?” list. Once you’re comfortable, you can move up to the next rung of crazy-lady-organization: color coding. Seriously, stop me, people. My husband will thank you.
There *may* be a color-coded, laminated chore list for our family. My husband is sweet enough to ignore it completely while allowing my neurotic self to keep pointing at it, mumbling “I’m two days behind schedule. Monday is the day to wash towels. I believe you have my red stapler.”
So find your favorite way of organizing your list (and your thoughts). Then print it off, post it on your fridge. Or fold it up in your purse. Or put it on your clipboard. (you don’t have a clipboard? amateur.) Anytime you’re feeling overwhelmed with everything you have to do/buy/make/remember, pull out that paper and take a deep breath. You’ve got this.
I believe in you – Excel believes in you. Let’s cross some stuff out!