At lunch yesterday I was reading an article entitled "The Checklist Manifest" from the magazine, The Week.
I am a checklist nut. I have grocery lists, book lists, Christmas card lists, list of things to do today, lists of things to do this week, lists of things to do this year, lists in my head, lists on paper, lists at work...and the list goes on.
A girlfriend of mine and I once had a conversation with her husband about this. Both of us, depending on circumstances, will even have lists of our lists (this was useful, for example, when planning my wedding). Her husband, on the other hand, just does stuff. When he mentioned this, it was a totally implausible idea to me. Do something that's not on a list? If I did that, I argued, I'd never get the things on the list done.
I will concede, that sometimes it's more useful to just do something than to write it on a list and then schedule the time to do it. Mundane things, like taking out the trash and emptying the dishwasher, seem logically to not need scheduling as much as simply doing.
One of my favorite things to do is to take my to-do lists and consolidate them. I'm not kidding. It lets me see what I have accomplished, it lets me re-evaluate what still needs to be done (I don't need to get my brother-in-law a birthday present, for example, if my husband has already done it), and it lets me better plan for what remains to be done.
Perhaps this is just part of my personality, or perhaps it's a skill-set that goes hand-in-hand with list making, but I'm also very good at planning/budgeting. Both time and money, and probably anything else that can be budgeted. Case in point: last February, hubby and I took a trip to Egypt. I gave us a budget of $5,000. We came in at $5,120...only 2.4% over-budget. And a large part of that variance had to do with a camera mishap and the fact that we bought a disposable camera in Giza.
Because I make lists, and manage my time accordingly, and have been doing this for years, I'm very good at estimating how long it will take me to do things. I get a tremendous number of things done on a daily basis. An exhausting amount, actually. And they're usually done fairly well.
People have poked fun at my list-making neuroses, but I think I've just been validated. And, as my mother says, a little OCD is a good thing.