I am such a list person. Whether post-it notes, notebooks in my handbag, massive mindmaps on rolls of wallpaper or my current favourite, Wunderlist, the art of list-making has always been a huge part of my life. But do they help and inspire us, or are they self-imposed restrictions?
I have kept several of my “brain books” as I lovingly called them, from years ago when every daily commute on the tube was spent concocting ideas and sorting through the sparks in my grey matter. These lists now serve as lovely snapshots of my life and aims at those stages in my life and I view them with affection. It’s also great to see how much I have achieved, both on the big life goal stuff (have kids, do MA, go self employed) to smaller things (become RSA fellow, start salsa dancing, run half marathon). Sometimes I have laid out post it notes on large vinyl posters and documented the mind maps and lists in photography, or I have tech systems and apps in place to keep everything in shareable order.
My brain seems to work in the way that I need to have somewhere to park all my thoughts so I can come back to them later. Mundane daily chores even need a list; I tend to be dreaming up huge world domination plans and cleaning the bathroom or sticking on a wash on can go unnoticed.
In the past I have become a little too obsessed with lists, and when I feel the need to itemise everything in my brain for a day’s activity I have to really question myself. The very act of creating a list can put pressure on yourself – a sudden, self-imposed need to fulfill all the recently imposed duties that putting pen to paper (or mouse click to Wunderlist) makes.
Lists are wonderful things to help clarify your goals, but they can also tie you down.
How do you make your lists? Can they stress you out or do you find them therapeutic?
Are they as beautifully artistic as the ones above? Email me your lists and I will make a feature of how all our brains work visually.