Why You Shouldn’t Cross Things Off Lists


“Check this out!” Tracey squealed from our office. I dragged myself up off the lounge where I’d been napping because I thought maybe she’d found money. But sadly this wasn’t the case.

Instead, she’d just discovered some lists we’d each compiled back in 2010 of the top 100 things we wanted to achieve. A list of goals. Some things were small, like for just one year of my adult life managing to send out Christmas cards to family and friends, others were bigger, like taking the family for a ski holiday so I could hit Tracey in the head with a snowball.

In case you’re interested, neither of these two things have been achieved. They were not alone. While I have managed a couple of items the majority, it must be said, have been in no danger of being struck off.

Top of the list was to ‘paint the fence’. I haven’t, of course, but I can argue it’s not because I don’t want to. I like to think of our multicoloured fence as a home security measure as the assumption of any passing thieves would be there was nothing worth their efforts on the other side of it.

‘Stain the retaining wall’ also featured fairly high up the list. Well, I can certainly cross that off the list. Not that I’ve gotten around to purchasing stain, much less locating a brush, but replace the retaining wall is what we’d need to write now. The thing looks awful.

Our chuckles started to attract the local wildlife. Miss4 popped her head in and asked us what we were doing.

“Reading a list we wrote of things we want to do,” I explained to her.

“I do that,” she said, plonking herself down and looking up at me expectantly. “You write,” she explained to me.

“Okay, number one,” I said as I pulled out a fresh sheet of paper.

“Buy Dora biscuits,” said Miss4.

“Number two.”

“Buy more money for mummy and daddy.”

She’s good at this.

“Number three.”

“Buy daddy boy stuff, like pillows for sleeping.”

I’m not sure if there was a number four because I couldn’t hear anything over Tracey’s guffawing. But that’s okay because Miss4 was done. I think she’d peaked at number one anyway.

Returning to my list, I did find ‘reduce to 80kg’ a bit confronting. Let’s just say I’m writing ‘reduce to 90kg’ on this year’s list, and even then I don’t consider that an especially realistic goal. Oh, that’s right: this years list.

“It’ll be fun,” grinned Tracey.

“What’ll be fun?” asked Master8 as he sauntered in. I thought, like Miss4, he’d be keen to write a list himself, but he was horrified when Tracey explained the concept. “Don’t cross things off your bucket list,” he spluttered at us like we were idiots. “Once they’re done, you die!”

I panicked for a split second because when you think about it this does seem to be the case, but then I remembered so long as ‘paint the fence’ is on my list it will never be completed.

And even then I’ve always got the ski holiday and theoretical snowball fight to fall back on – I’ve got truly terrible aim.

If we got a chuckle out of you please repay with a share 🙂

When not over here, Bruce hangs out at his Big Family Little Income Facebook Page.

”Raising a family on little more than laughs.”


  • I love lists.

    I love to add things to my list that weren’t previously on it, but I have done anyway, just so I can feel good about the things I’ve done on my To Do List. 😉

  • Did you say list? I don’t make lists unless it’s for work.

    Oh wait, for shopping and stuff, I use an app for the supermarket. I populate it with items and send my husband. [chuckles]

    So yeah I suppose I do make lists… for my husband.

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