I am a list maker. I carry a small notebook and a pen in which I make lists:
1. Errands to run
2. Books I want to read
3. Books I have already read
4. Things I need at the drug store
5. Gift ideas for the family
6. Web sites I want to check out
7. Writing topic ideas
8. Urgent household or yard tasks
9. Sewing and knitting pattern notes, with materials needed
10. Ever changing sizes for grand children clothing
11. Groceries (developed from the comprehensive pantry list I keep in the kitchen with my cookbooks)
12. Clothes shopping (developed from the complete list of my wardrobe items with notes about what needs replacement, kept in my closet)
While I was still working, making my "to do" list was always on my list of things "to do." I kept a pad of sticky notes next to my bed so that I could jot down things if they woke me up in the middle of the night. I kept a pad of sticky notes in my car so that I could leave myself reminders and make note of anything that might pop into my head at the stop lights on the trip to or from work. Actually, I still have pads of sticky notes in the car and around the house, but I find I don't need to use them quite as much.
Being such a believer in list making, it was something I was always trying to get my students into under the guise of "study skills." At the same time, I could appreciate that the list making thing was a bit of an obsession that could easily turn into something counter productive. I developed lessons on list making as an organizing tool. However, I did introduce those lessons over the years with a reading from the beginner reader Frog and Toad series by Arnold Lobel : "A List." In the story, Toad makes a list of things to do but it is blown away in a stiff wind. He is rendered useless for lack of that list and spends the entire day looking for it. His pal, Frog, who chases around after the list with him finally says he's tired and has to go home to go to bed. Toad remembers that "Go to bed," was the last item on his list so he writes that in the sand with a stick, crosses it out and goes promptly to sleep.
I may be a tad on the obsessive side, I know, but at least I can take myself not so seriously sometimes. Sometimes I believe it is possible to organize myself right into disorganization and chaos.