Monday, March 31, 2014

Time To Get Under Control . . . Where Is My List?


Do you make lists? I don't.

My late husband always had a little book with him, one that organized his day, plans, and thoughts. I ran around like a chicken with its head cut off, never quite sure what I needed to do.

"Write it down." He told me this daily our first years together as a couple. "Make a list. Get a book," and he'd stop writing in his to show me a worn leather folder, the size of a check book, "A day timer."

My reply was always the same. "Who would remind me to look at it." I'd never think to reach in my purse, look on the desk, or do whatever needed to be done to grab it and see what my list for the day was. So I did the next best thing, I placed my list where I would be sure to see it. On the bathroom mirror, on the medicine cabinet above the sink, not a slip of paper, or a post-it, but in lipstick. I'd see it every time I brushed my teeth. I brush my teeth more than the average person I am sure, so I knew I'd see my list without having to search for it. When I completed something, I'd wipe it clean and start over again.

There was some flack with that idea, but he got used to it as I got a bit more organized.

He made lists in Outlook on their calendar and every day a reminder popped up for him on the computer, yet he kept his day timer by his side. If he'd had a cell phone I am sure his calendar would have been full there too.

Me? I am spiraling down in disaster these days with what I am to do and when.

Last spring I did a bit of renovation on the house, replacing the old bathroom fixtures with new ones. The medicine cabinet was the first thing to go. My handyman Mighty Joe hauled if off to the dump. Years of lipstick lists had kept me on track. Did I put in a new medicine cabinet? No. I found an old Eastlake window an antique dealer friend of mine had fitted with a small mirror in the center and had that hung over my sink, where the old cabinet used to be. It is beautiful. You don't put lipstick notes on an antique. So two things became painfully apparent as I brushed my teeth every morning, noon, and night.

1. I had no idea what I was supposed to do with my day, what were the important things to accomplish.
2. I had no idea where my makeup, ibuprofen, and other items were. I no longer had a medicine cabinet.

I adapted. I started sending e-mail lists to myself every night before bed that I'd get first thing in the morning to remind me what I needed to do.  It was a great idea. I slept like a baby. The weight of worry off my mind. The next morning when all my e-mails came in, I'd forget to check the one marked 'list'.

Then one morning while drinking coffee and reading e-mail in Windows Live Mail I looked to the far right side of my monitor. There was a sidebar with a weekly calendar next to the window where I read my messages. It was a light bulb moment.  I could open up the larger calendar, make my lists, and they would show in the sidebar on each day of the week. How difficult could this be? All I had to do was remember to turn my head to the right when I was in my e-mail. I found a small sticky note and put it on my monitor with an important message to myself. Look right when in e-mail.

I know better. You don't write in lipstick on a monitor. It was hard enough finding an old post-it,  but this was as close to my lipstick theory as I could get. The first thing I do every morning, before I brush my teeth, is to check my e-mail. This may work if my note doesn't fly off into the dust bunnies on the floor I keep trying to remember to sweep up.

Yes, I have a cell. Yes it has a calendar. So what is your point?



  1. Lol!!! I can't remember anything unless I write it down! Sometimes it doesn't matter whether I ever look at it, just the act of writing it helps me better remember! You just have too much going on in that brain to remember everything!!!

    1. You make me feel so much better about this Susan!

  2. I agree with Susan. My "hard drive" lack sufficient memory these days. Best reminder ever is the "sticky notes" program on my computer. Of course, now I can't see the lovely screen saver pictures such as it is with various color "sticky notes" all over it. And do not send me to the grocery store without a list. I will go specifically to get milk and come home with everything but milk.

    1. Jayne - good to see you here. Thanks for the comment. I have six dogs to remind me that dog food is the only thing I need to remember at the grocery store. I always buy just as I run out and the paws pacing the kitchen floor are sounds that I can't forget.