The pros and cons of being listless

I am a reluctant list maker. For years i kicked against the notion of any kind of list. Make a shopping list? *rolls eyes. I prefer to decide what to buy in an impromptu fashion. I loathe the necessity of deciding what a family of five will eat for a week ahead.

My husband however is an avid listmaker. He has one for the packing of what we need when we visit the outlaws, one for the ‘jobs’ that need doing around the house. He is SO different from me but the older I get the more I realise that a list is essential. If it isn’t written down, it simply doesn’t happen any more.

Some time ago I started making ‘to do’ lists and, as I have an unhealthy stationery fetish, I keep them in a range of smart notebooks which I find a fascinating read to document our family life over the period of a year. And I am not alone. Comedienne Jenny Eclair went listless for a day of Radio 4 recently. It was a fascinating listen about how and why people make lists, how they cross off what they’ve done, where they record their lists, how they prioritise the items on their lists, individual v communal lists and the essential differences in the lists of men and women.

It seems the handwritten list is still favourite. This pleases me. As an English teacher I am not a fan of the comparatively little amount of handwriting that takes place. There has been interesting research recently about the links between handwriting and language learning. There have been others about writing before bedtime to promote better sleep and about handwriting and cognitive development. Handwriting matters. I don’t want a list app of any kind. Give me a lovely pen and a hard-backed book with an artistic cover. I cover mine with photos or wrapping paper,just as I did with my exercise books at school.

Look closely and you’ll see that my list today is heavily garden and home-based with a bit of drama thrown in for good measure. School holidays. I love them and I am not in the least listless.

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