Stop Counting, Start Living

Photo credit: @ Beta675

Photo credit: @ Beta675

Upon hearing that I have a blog about tracking things, the most frequent thought that leaps to people’s minds is, “You need to get a life!” Some kind souls keep it to themselves, but I know it is there, lurking.

Today I thought, “What if I did give up counting and tracking things? How would my life be better?”

First of all, I wouldn’t need to budget any more. I could just keep a rough idea in my head of how much money I need to pay bills and how much I can spend.  Obviously, I would make mistakes, ring up lots of bank fees and overdraft charges, and if my spending ramped up, I could just make the minimum payment on my credit card. I would then be one of the thoroughly average people who spends 1.33 x what they earn on a regular basis.

Next, I could breathe a sigh of relief and stop thinking about what I eat. I could buy what I liked, either at the grocery store or dining out, and simply eat until I’m full whenever I feel like it.

Likewise, I could go for a walk or exercise when the mood struck, starting when I had high energy and stopping when I ran out of steam. I’m sure that would happen all the time 🙂

And clothes? I could stop my foolish minimal wardrobe plan and have fun with fashion. I am sure that my shoe and handbag collections are so far below average that I have lots of remedial spending to do. Let me just check what colours are on trend for Spring 2013!

I will certainly have to give up my time-consuming, nit-picky habits such as sorting the trash, recycling and composting. What was I thinking? I could be saving minutes a day!

And most importantly of all, I will need to stop making lists, because they are only for obsessive people who like to be able to cross things off them.

OK, on a more serious note, a reasonable amount of listing, counting and tracking keeps me away from chaos. I didn’t enjoy being down to my last $20 at the end of the month and making the minimum payment on my credit card. It didn’t feel like freedom at all – it felt like a monster was breathing down my neck! I did enjoy spending as much as I liked on groceries and eating whatever I wanted, however, it resulted in a 30 lb weight gain in 4 years and that wasn’t quite sustainable! Walking and exercising intermittently meant that I was always starting over and never attaining a level of fitness, so there were no results to be celebrated. Haphazard clothes shopping left me with unmatchable items that I only wore once, and worse yet, poor quality items that could only be worn once. Recycling and composting are another story. Our city pick-up system requires it, and they reject bags of mixed garbage. To throw everything together, I’d have to hide it in double black bags, and the guilt would be crushing 🙂 And the list thing? I’m sure I could afford to forget a few household tasks, but my employer might think differently of me if I failed to complete key tasks on the job.

You know my conclusion. Judicious use of listing, counting and tracking makes my life better. Yes, there is always a tendency toward overkill. Mostly, though, I like to meet my responsibilities, be accountable to myself and others, and enjoy the occasional burst of progress or accomplishment.

Yours truly,

Dar @ An Exacting Life

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

^^     I like to feel calm and productive    ^^


  1. Best. Post. Ever. 🙂

  2. Thanks for the laugh today, this was great. I so agree with you, people who live a life without lists and budgets are the ones we don’t want to be. I want to know what needs to be done so I can get to it and then have my fun.

  3. different things work for different people and if we were all the same it would make for a boring world. You keep on with all your lists………we like you just the way you are (just like Bridget Jones!!)


  4. Love it! Although, I’m like ‘that’s sorta me’ all the way through, even though I love a good list. I did run this morning cause the fancy took me, but it’s not part of a formal plan. And I cook what takes my fancy (and as I’ve mentioned lately, feel forever ‘guilty’ for not meeting the countless goals I have for every meal, namely it being ‘healthy’). And I even manage to co-mingle trash in places where people don’t have separate bins (in their house, the building offers recycling). But it just doesn’t feel ‘right!’

  5. I am with you on the listing – I don’t function well without lists and goals and even with all the organisation I put in I can still end up in chaos so I can’t imagine what I would be like if I didn’t bother! I think it sounds like far too much hard work being haphazard about life!

  6. I can’t live without my lists! And not keeping track of things like you do would definitely cost you a lot of extra money (I think people tend NOT to track things because they really don’t want to know how much they are spending and how much money they are wasting!).

  7. laura / no more spending

    Love it!

  8. Needle Lady

    Everyone is different and if this gives you peace, amen. I am not as exacting as you, or even in the same ballpark, but I always enjoy reading what you have done, and it makes me look at myself. Thank you for that.

  9. Pingback: Sharing my favorite posts of the week | livingsimplyfree

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