Richard Oliff: Lists the thief of our time

Lists eat into our precious time, says Richard
Lists eat into our precious time, says Richard

No matter how many times I’ve tried I’ve never managed to avoid “the list”. This is a phenomenon that has haunted me for most, if not all, of my adult life.

The list usually begins to appear on or around Thursday of every week and grows at a rate that even simple mould might envy.

I say list, yet there are often two of them working in tandem, gaining in volume and length at the mere hint of a weekend.

Between them, these lists ensure that the fantasy of a long Saturday lie-in in bed remains exactly that; fantasy.

I have no time to play golf or read, never mind going to a football match or a leisurely drive of discovery in the countryside.

Only God might know where one would snatch time from the list’s busy schedules to even contemplate walking the dog, yet somehow, through the miracle of ‘time juggling’, this can be achieved.

On a Monday morning if anyone asks you, just in passing, “Where did that weekend go?”, stop them, look them in the eyes and say: “Lists: the thief of time, even more prolific than procrastination.”

You’ll often hear folk inquire after the quality of someone else’s weekend.

“Good weekend?”. ‘Yes, we went down to London with the nippers to see Peppa Pig.” “Oh yes, we drove to Paris.”

They go on to give you a million reasons why their weekend seemed much longer than yours, purely because unlike you they are not slaves to the time-guzzling lists to which I refer.

They are of course ‘shopping’ and its little irritating sibling ‘chores’.

I’ve tried to argue that shopping in itself is a chore, but on closer examination it’s more of a bind, perhaps a distant beacon to a “fourth way”.

I say a fourth way because at this time of year there is an urgent third list in need of concerted concentration: the “Christmas” list, an annual happening that refuses to be ignored.