List Freak

Guest blogger Zoe Homes explains why she’s a ‘list freak’, and why that’s ok.

Before I read How To Do Everything And Be Happy I was already a list freak.  I simply cannot cope without lists.  I have lists for work, lists for home, lists for my blog, lists for things I want to buy, and of course I have my ultimate “things to do” list – my bucket list.  Lists are important to me because I think in colours and music and pictures – I don’t think in words – if I don’t write it down, I don’t remember it.  But not just for memory’s sake.  I also need lists because I feel the need to know what is happening, for things to be predictable, organised and planned, and most importantly to be able to look back and remember what I have done – knowing what is about to happen and what has happened makes me feel in control, and ultimately, happy.

Before I read How To Do Everything And Be Happy I knew I was not alone in my freakish list making.  My mum has lists.  Budget lists, shopping lists, meal lists, to do lists (probably where it started).  A ex-colleague and good friend of mine also has lists for everything, and panics if there is no list to work from.  That’s just two people, I know there are many more.  Lists are integral to us functioning normally.  Without them life melts into uncontrollable chaos – or that is the fear.

Now I have read How To Do Everything And Be Happy I know I am, in fact, onto something here.  Peter Jones confirmed to me in this chatty and incredibly helpful book, that being a “list freak” is actually ok.  It’s ok to feel the need for a series of lists – using paper and online services.  It’s ok to have a colour coded diary showing everything that’s going on.  It’s ok to want to do that in order to feel in control of my day to day being.  And it’s ok to use lists to feel like I’ve achieved something at the end of each day, week, month, challenge.  In fact, I am getting it right!

Ok so I know I am not normal, but at least I know that happiness can actually be borne out of writing down my plans and sticking to them.  Go on… make your list now (start with your “now list”).  Oh and get a diary!

Now Boxing Days are another story.  An unplanned day a month?  In my review I said I thought it was a really great idea, and I still think it is.  But I’ve not been brave enough to try one yet!

Zoe Homes, author of Splodz Blogz, is a lover of music, gadgets, fashion, food, mad challenges, and all things happy. She’s all about the journey and trying to get the most out of life. 

Find Zoe’s blog at
Read Zoe’s review of How To Do Everything and Be Happy here.

Change is good

KirstyFollowing her recent review of How To Do Everything And be Happy (you can find that here), I asked Freelance Journalist, Mum and Avid Reader, Kirsty Higginson, if she’d like to do a guest blog post for us – and here she is, sharing what happiness means to her, why change is good, and why she’s no longer a day dreamer.

Let me introduce myself – I’m Kirsty, a freelance journalist, blogger, wannabe author, mother to one husband, two children, an English Springer Spaniel and an all round day dreamer. Okay, that last bit is a bit of a porkie pie.

I was a dreamer.

I’m no longer a day dreamer.

These days, I’m an all round, all day DO-ER.

But let’s get to how I became a DO-ER later, first of all I want to ask you what the hell is happiness anyway?

The Oxford dictionary defines ‘happy’ as:

  1. Feeling or showing pleasure or contentment
  2. Fortunate and convenient

To me, the definition of being happy can come in many formats & ideologies. What makes you happy, isn’t necessarily going to get the world raving & rejoicing – I know my Dad is petrified of heights & so flying a plane, which is one of the many items on my NOW LIST, wouldn’t really be his cup of tea. And, in all honesty, he’d probably end up being carted off to a mental institution if he tried it (seeing as my teenage years drove him exceedingly close to this, I know it wouldn’t be a pretty sight). So, take a look, deep inside yourself to find what a personal definition of happiness.

Hard isn’t it?

To be very brief and sum it up quickly, (because I’ve been known to go on) for me, happiness is a sense of calm inside, you know the type – when you’ve just reached the top of a mountain – or in my case probably a small to medium sized hill, which has breathtaking views. It doesn’t mean that I can’t be anywhere where music is blaring or  where there’ll be hundreds of people. It’s about feeling complete.

And since reading How to Do Everything and be Happy, I seem to have glimpsed into a happier side of myself that is beginning to fill fulfilled and calm much more. I’m not saying that the book solves the meaning of life and in the words of Monty Python, Peter is “not the Messiah”, but his points on happiness are valid and, as he has seen the dark side, you know he’s actually experienced a depressive state similar to your own.

Following the book, I found loopholes the size of, well, one of Saturn’s rings, in my life and what I define happiness to be. I can easily lay blame on external forces (if so and so had done this I could have actually finished a project, completed x,y and z much easier or better) but isn’t that just wimping out on what good fortunes lay ahead?

If you miss a bus to work or school do you throw your hands up in the air, go home and crawl under the quilt everyday? No, you bloody well walk/get a taxi/ring boyfriend/girlfriend etc.

Your happiness HAS to be perceived in exactly the same way and this is how I now look at life. We need to carry on with our dreams, albeit positively. Is there a rule that says because we’re (urgh – I hate this term!) ‘grown ups’ we HAVE to live by a strict set of rules, whereby we leave our beautiful and colourful childlike dreams behind? No, there isn’t. And yet most of us live and work within a cycle or rat run, and want some give or take every now and again. My childlike dream has  ALWAYS been to write a novel. Published would be preferable but a first draft of around eighty to a hundred thousand words will suit me just fine. Even if it’s a bit pants, I will have written those words. Even if it isn’t your cup of tea, they are my written words and I will be rejoicing once written.

I think the key point to remember is that most of the time we just get taken on a different route to the one we thought we’d be taking. I don’t know why but I had never looked at it  like that before, which is quite ridiculous when you think that I was leaving happiness to chance.

 You can follow Kirsty on Twitter @KirstyHigginson.