8 signs your list making is out of control (AKA a neurotic Type A personality trait)

This list is empty now, but not for long.

By Sedora Tantraphol

You’ve probably seen the BuzzFeed list for “28 Problems Every Type A Person Will Understand.” I could write tomes on each of my Type A traits—like excessive planning and hyper productivity and attention to detail—but for this post, I’m focusing on lists. To-do lists, life lists, sub-lists, lists in all their organizational glory. If you don’t have a Type A person in your life, here’s a little glimpse into what it’s really like.

  1. You can’t stop making lists.
    • I start thinking about the things I have to do as soon as I wake up and am constantly adding to my lists throughout the day. Before I go to sleep, I create a list of things to do for the next day.
    • Lists.Rule.My.Life. I have not gone a day without making some sort of list, even on vacation. Sad, but true.
    • The worst offender: I started an “Immediate Things To Do After Honeymoon” to-do list while on the flight to Italy for my honeymoon. I didn’t even make it a full page in my travel journal before I got distracted thinking of everything I had to do when I got back. So I did what any good list-maker would do — flipped to the back and made a to-do list…for 3 weeks later.
    • My mom, from whom I got my obsessive list-making habit, sometimes gives me a “…WOW…” kind of look and tells me to chill out. BUT HOW ELSE WILL ALL MY 28 GAZILLION THINGS GET SCHEDULED AND DONE?!?!? Focus. Got to finish this list for this blog post.
  2. You make sub-lists of your lists.
    "It's a list within a list within a list ... but still, we must go deeper."
    “It’s a list within a list within a list … but still, we must go deeper.”
    • I have weekly lists, daily lists, prioritized daily lists, to-do eventually lists, list of things I need to buy, list of things I need to buy at each store on which day, things I’ve ordered online, things I’ve loaned to people, packing lists within my travel planning list, a bucket list broken down by year, etc. You know how people say, “there’s an app for that?” People close to me say, “Sedora’s got a list for that.”
    • It can be exhausting, really. But it must be done, because I’m lost without my lists and because life is way too inefficient without lists and planning.
    • I am so notorious for my list-making that my fellow list-making sister (and now fellow Moonsail North-er!) wrote my wedding toast in the form of a list. (Loved it! Best.Toast.Ever!!! Favorite quote: Everything is a task list waiting to be categorized – and then conquered.” Well put, fellow Type A-er.)
  3. You even dream in lists.
    • I once had a nightmare that I was in charge of planning an event and hadn’t made one single list or matrix yet. Not one. I actually woke up stressed out as hell.
  4. You love agendas because they’re another form of a list.
    • I need an agenda for everything. Even short phone calls. Even personal phone calls, if it’s been a while since I’ve caught up with someone.
    • I cringe when people say they’ll “just wing it.” How can I prepare if you’re just winging it?
  5. You make all your travel plans in lists.
    “Hmm, let’s see … Step 1, land. Step 2, grab luggage. Step 3, get off plane. Step 4 … “
    • It doesn’t matter how long or short the trip is. Travel must be researched and planned! I compile all the best recommended places to eat, drink, sleep and play from travel books, travel sites, and friends. I spend hours researching reviews, hours of operations, menus, locations, prices, and then color code and prioritize my list. I create an itinerary, and map out our route each day. I make as many reservations ahead of time as possible to avoid standing in lines or missing out on anything.
    • I am so Type A that I consider changing travel plans a week ahead, spontaneous. This past Memorial Day weekend, my husband, sister and I went on a road trip. At the (what I consider to be) last minute (7 or 8 days out) we decided to add another night to the trip and booked a hotel room. I was so proud of myself for being so spontaneous, then realized that booking a week ahead does not count as spontaneous. Dammit. *Add “be more spontaneous” to to-do list.*
  6. You can’t stand non-responders, because then you can’t check items off your list.
    • If you don’t respond, I can’t move forward with my planning. Uncertainty will reign, and pretty much the worst thing you can do to a Type A person is to leave them in the dark void of Uncertainty.
    • Also, this might have a cascading effect – I might have had several other items waiting on your response. For the love of all things holy, please, just hit reply already! End my fretting.
    • (Note that I am totally judging you and awarding points to fast responders, who also happen to be Type A and my closest, dearest friends because they understand my need for neurotic list making and immediate response and don’t torture me with non-response.)
  7. Your Type B partner, friends, and family see you as a never-ending-task-creating-machine and make fun of you relentlessly…and even avoid you. What they see as an annoyingly nonstop list of action items, you know to be the key to the next perfect vacation/event. And you are always right. You’re welcome.
  8. There is no satisfaction like the satisfaction of checking off every single one of your many to-do items and knowing that you were productive as hell today and that you rocked your day/event/vacation.
    • You revel in that feeling for a proud moment, then start planning the next perfect event/vacation/to do list.

June 10, 2015