The To Do List


There are days when the To Do list actually gets longer rather than shorter.

You add to the list quicker than you can check things off, and it grows and grows until you can practically hear the high-pitched whine of pressure building in your head. On the best of days, adulting seems like an endless To Do list, both in  the small sense (go to the shop, send your mail, etc.) and the big sense (get a job, buy a house, etc.). It can be quite demoralising, because no matter how fast you barrel through your list of weekly tasks, there are always other, bigger items on the list. Existential items. Items that require thought and planning and luck and money and, really, items that may never get ticked off.

And how mildly infuriating is that?

I can’t stand leaving boxes unchecked.

There are, of course, plenty of unchecked boxes in my life, both big and small. The smaller ones are the ones really bothering me at the moment, because while one hand is typing, the other is scooping an errant kitten (Maya) off the dining table and I’m nudging the other (Oscar) with my foot in an effort to stop him from chewing my laptop charger cable. No sooner have I turned my back to put on a load of laundry than Maya is abseiling down the backs of the chairs, and I haven’t even made contact with the chair before Oscar is trying to break into the bedroom.

Supervision is aptly named, because I would indeed need super vision – and ideally eyes that could rotate independently on the side of my skull, like a chameleon – to be able to keep track of these two furry kamikazes.

…And so my list grows longer, and the high-pitched whine gets louder, and I start to feel itchy in my own skin, like there aren’t enough hours in the day and everything is difficult and actually, maybe I should just throw out all of my belongings because at least then there would be no laundry to do and no tidying to finish and I mean, do I even need clothes anyway maybe I can just get by with a single pair of jeans and a white t-shirt? After all, you would never need to match another unpaired sock again if you were just prepared to traipse through life barefoot. Shoe storage would be far more manageable. Our TV has recently gone to join the cars from The Brave Little Toaster, so we’re already (unwittingly) on our way to a more minimal lifestyle.

I mean… I’m just saying.

The only redeeming feature of this slow, relentless, drip, drip, drip of tasks, is that it leaves no time to worry about the unchecked boxes on my more general life list. I fall into bed so exhausted that I sleep through the night and wake up like a wind-up toy, my mind ready to move onto the next task. The items on the Adult To Do List don’t even get a look in these days.

And really, those are the ones that tend to keep your eyes open at 3am, searching the ceiling for answers.

Those are the ones to watch out for.


What about you? Are you getting through your To Do List? Do you have an Adult & General Life To Do List? How’s that going? Do you have any To-Do-List-tackling secrets? Care to share…?



  • Kent Mitchell

    Right, the to-do list is infinite. So what do you do first? Write and manage kittens. Hard to get better than that. However, what are these Adult to-dos that you’re so worried about at 3am?

    • Quinn

      Kent, it’s overwhelming! You know those large, looming thoughts that seem to hang over you like a dark cloud at night? For some reason they never seem to appear during the day!

  • Robert Doyle

    I tried making actual To Do Lists once, but it wasn’t working out. Instead I kind of jot down weekly lists in my head of things I need to get done. Must call the bank about this, must bring this over to my parents, that type of thing. The ‘big ticket’ To Do items (finding a better job, getting writing time in for my book, planning vacations” are always kind of there for me….so in essence I don’t require a list. Reading this though I’m thinking maybe its time to try again! Lol

    • Quinn

      I jot down lists and then I lose the lists. I’ve discovered I need to jot down lists, then transfer them to my Keep app on my phone, then lose the paper list, then forget about the Keep app list, then find the paper list four months down the line when I no longer need it….

      The perfect system!

    • Quinn

      Yeah. YEAH. I’ve been thinking that a human baby must be about 1000 times more work than a kitten and they stay small and simple for much longer.

      I mean… I’m not sure I’m able.

      • Dangerspouse

        It’s not that. It’s just that the penalty for infanticide is so much harsher than for kittycide when you finally snap. I cruel, draconian system, I know, but there you are. Best to stick with things that will only cost you a fine and maybe community service if (when) you’ve had enough.

  • The Real Reality Show Blog

    Having spent a lifetime checking items off to do lists I can say with certainty that taking time to shift among life, adult, home, work, “my time,” and “challenge me” lists is a good thing. You get to refresh your brain, reset goals, lots of little things to check off, and even some cat time that’s fun.

    • Quinn

      That actually sounds like a great idea – fun lists as well as not fun lists! Why have I never thought of this before? Bet I can get through the fun lists in record time…!

  • Anthony

    My to do list (both the mundane and the more adventurous) entries continue to grow. Surprisingly, I am better at crossing off the adventurous ones, and the ones that need to get done so I can do the adventurous ones, than I am at getting the mundane ones done. Right now, I should be taking out the garbage, but writing to you is much more interesting.

  • Angela

    I don’t write lists anymore, no more unticked boxes…. just a heap of laundry and pile of birthday cards that should have been posted a week ago!

  • The Wayfarer

    I find the day-to-day to-do list very useful, but long-term? Ufhhh, I don’t even want to think about it. Please don’t remind me how I’m not saving up enough for retirement :/

  • Chaoscream

    I only do to-do list by the day to get those menial tasks completed. As far as long term or life goals go I am currently reading about ways to best do this. I am not there yet but I think this will help visualize. Not so much as a to do list per say but how to accomplish things and time lines.

  • bexoxo

    First of all, I love that you linked a clip from The Brave Little Toaster; such an underrated movie! And second, I was showing off your new babies to Fella last night and he thought I said you named them after the hot dog company, Oscar Mayer. 😀

    I’ve never been much of a procrastinator, but my outlook on to-do lists has typically been, ‘I can just do it tomorrow.’ Then weeks/months go by and some random day is spent catching up all at once; checking mythical boxes off left and right. This system has not failed me yet. 🙂

    • Quinn

      Hahaha I don’t think we have that company here, but I like the idea of having hot dog cats! Also that’s my system too. FOOLPROOF.

  • violetonlineisonline

    there’s a fabulous to-do list doing the rounds on twitter. a young girl left it in Urban Outfitters and it is FABULOUS but I don’t know how to share it here. Includes are – buy 7 bikinis, go to a party…
    Nice blog btw!

    • Quinn

      I saw it! I laughed so hard. The list goes from extremely innocent to outrageous and back again! So good. I need a list like that!

  • MadKatter

    Hello lovely! I feel like I am generally failing at life because I haven’t checked a box in a while…My list got too long, I feel like I gave up 😭😂. Not good.

    I was also struggling with a blog topic, perhaps this will will be the theme and maybe, just maybe get a new list together 😭.

    Especially since I was up at 3am contemplating life – just like you mentioned!!! Sooo basically, I need to get it together Haha ❤️

    • Quinn

      Stupid lists. I make lists, and lose lists, and find lists later when I’ve made lists of the lists I’ve lost… I’m a list-aster!

      Okay that was terrible. I apologise.

  • voicesinmyhead336

    HAHAHA I just opened a note on my phone titled “things I absolutely have to get done in the next three days” filled it with all of the things I have been procrastinating about for the last month or so and then proceeded to read your blog instead of getting started with the list

    rolls eyes at self

    on days when the list gets longer I tend to add things that weren’t on there but i got done anyways just so i have something to check off! brush teeth-check. get dressed- check. see? you are killing it!

    good luck 🙂

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