Dear Crabby, My To-Do List Needs Help

Dear Crabby,

I’m always running late and missing appointments. I have tried to keep to do lists, but quite honestly, I usually forget to make them.  Worse than that, even if I do remember to make them, I often fail to look at them!  I need some tips from someone who has experience in staying organized.

Sincerely, Sally Scattered

Dear Ms. Scattered,

Oh my, you are going to get me in a heap of trouble this week!  This topic has been a boiling point for the missus and me for quite some time.  I like to make simple lists and check them off one by one.  It is very important to me that these lists be small and attainable.  I will only write down things that I am sure I can do in one day or in one sitting.  The missus, on the other hand, likes to get out her Franklin Planner and write down everything that needs to be done for the next 90 days or so.  She only gets about 8 to 10 of these things done the first day, but she makes sure she checks them off her list.  Then, she spends an hour or so each night transferring all the tasks that were not completed to the next day. She repeats this ritual night after night and day after day.  It was bad enough when we were first married, but after we had kids, it was awful. Her to do list was so long and it was so hit or miss as to what she might have time to do, I became very concerned for her health. Especially after I saw things like “brush teeth” and “take shower” being transferred over to the next day’s list because it hadn’t yet been completed. We would have this discussion all the time about making realistic lists. I would say, “Think about what you have time for today, then write down those half a dozen things and that’s all.”  She would argue that all these other things needed to be done eventually, too. So, I would look down her long list myself to help her find things she could eliminate. I would say, “Look here, you have ‘buy birthday card for your friend.’ And over here you have ‘go to lunch with this friend.'”  Then I would tell her that I would simply eliminate those friends, that they were requiring too much of her attention. She was always quick to respond that if she got rid of all her friends, she would end up being just like me. I never did understand what was wrong with that. If the people in this world were more like me, then I would probably like this place that much better. Feeling at my wits’ end, I fell back on my life-long motto: If you can’t beat them, annoy them!  I learned to be sneaky with her planner.  Sometimes I’d add little check marks next to items on her list; other times I would just add new lines that benefited me somehow. My forgery of her handwriting must have been pretty good I guess, cause she almost always completed those tasks. Anyway, I hope that helps! Let me know how it works out.

Sincerely, Dear Crabby

Stuck in a rut, need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Ask

About Dear Crabby

Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at

Speak Your Mind