Author Lorraine McLoughlin's little black book

I mislaid my black book, that record of daily lists, promises to call back, banking details, phone numbers and reminders.

I use it sporadically so it took a while to notice it was finally gone, not just misplaced. If I were systematic and kept meticulous records it would have been in its place.

Grandchildren laugh at my Granny’s Rule: put it back. Mostly I do so, but exceptions send me spiralling. Self-esteem plummets as search frenzy soars.

Small things overwhelmed me this week. So many needs on multiple fronts scattered my efforts and frayed calmness. Which of these demands need I respond to, and who is putting them on me anyway? Which ones can go down the list, or off it all together?

I am overcome with angst, and over sensitive to the world news, parliamentary humbug and Australia’s inhumane actions; I am irritated by loud conversation, advertisements and barking dogs?

And there it was, my black book carefully stashed, but dammit, why there? I fell upon its lists to restore order in a stretched life, making a pact to use it religiously, order my actions within a structure, liberate my life and recover a sense of humour?

With anxiety lessened, life is calmer as I control reactions, choose what to change or filter out, and stop beating myself up. Lists help me sort priorities, stop me worrying about forgetting, keep me organised, more grounded and yes, more creative too.

The process of listing jostles things into perspective, reveals gaps between the listed actions and spaces to seize for time out. As I make decisions to let go things that don’t matter, I unconsciously tap into inner resources. Stay close little book, to dampen my anxiety, give me a do-able plan and the deep satisfaction of crossing completed things off lists.

Lorraine McLoughlin is an author with community ties to the Fleurieu Coast. For more see