By: Randi Goodman

I have always had a fondness for lists.  In this If You Give A Mouse A Cookie world that we live in, having a home base such as a to-do list to come back to helps to not get carried away sweeping or giving yourself a haircut when you’ve got deadlines to make and bills to pay.  I find there is also a certain encouragement that comes along with starting your list with the most recent thing you actually already did, so you get to tick it off right away and start with a sense of accomplishment before carrying on to the next thing.  It takes away some of the “where do I start?” anxiety that can build up even over small tasks. 

Executive function is something that I find many take for granted.  Knowing where to start and knowing how to start are important factors to productively move through your list , but keeping on task can be a huge hurdle for any of us given the many interruptions that grab our attention at any given point.  Compound ordinary distractability with the added challenges of working from home, teaching from home, having your kids constantly needing something from you, and everything else we are all dealing with right now, and it’s no wonder that people are struggling to stay on top of day to day tasks.  

So, after checking in with my therapist, something I also highly suggest, I have reestablished my relationship with lists. 

  • The color-coded ones
  • The timestamped ones
  • The ones full of what was already done
  • The ideas that need to get put on paper simply so they can stop bouncing around in my head
  • And the ones that need to be written down so I don’t feel like if I forget for a second, they might slip away.   

If you are feeling a bit disorganized, you are not alone, particularly as the school year comes to an end and we begin of another season of uncertainty and the lack of the established routines from previous years.  Pinterest has loads of cute and fancy and engaging lists to help you get organized in fun ways.  Sticker chart types are great to help keep the kids on track and give them a sense of responsibility.  For the ultra-organized, there are always excel spreadsheet with multiple tabs and automatic formulas.  Rainy day lists and wish lists can help keep boredom at bay.  Honey-do lists can keep partners on task without feeling like you’re nagging.  We all work differently, and these are just a few suggestions.  It is most important to find out what works best for you.