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Our Lust for Lists

A journalist from Chile who works for La Tercera sent me interview questions for a story she is writing on lists (since I am the author of To-Do List: From Buying Milk to Finding a Soul Mate, What Our Lists Reveal About Us and the “world’s leading todolistologist” :). Once her story is published, I will share it. I also thought I would share my answers with you. Especially because I am planning to offer an upcoming todolistology course; this might inspire you and you might want to join me. To stay in the loop and find out more about the course, please sign up here.

New Year’s Resolutions of a Brooklyn 16-Year-Old Girl, 1956

Why do we need to make checklists?
We make to-do lists because we would be lost without them. We have too many things to do to remember them all. Writing a list relieves anxiety because we record everything we have to remember and get done. Once it’s down on the list, we can stop worrying about it so much.

Why people still prefer the tactile experience of writing their lists with pen and paper?
Although I use an online to-do list program Things, I am still a huge believer in writing a list with pen and paper. Eighty-nine percent in my listmaker survey also prefer writing lists with pen and paper. The tactile experience of writing a list in your own handwriting is a chance to settle down and detach from the infinity of the Internet and settle into yourself, to feel more grounded. Now you are in own world, thinking about what you need to today, tomorrow, or in this lifetime.

A list written in your own handwriting is more personal, like a contract with yourself. It carries more weight. I accomplish a higher percentage of the items on my handwritten lists than my electronic ones. Plus when you handwrite you can doodle and be creative, and our lists are one of the everyday places where we can be creative.Read More

Me and Quirkyalone on Globo, Brazil’s Largest TV Channel

Those of you who follow my work know that I fell in love with South America in 2009 and spent six months in Brazil in 2010 (and then went on to Colombia and Argentina). Those travels are the subject of the memoir I’m writing now.

My book Quirkyalone had already been published in Brazil in 2005 and now the concept is getting even more attention in one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Globo, Brazil’s largest national media channel did a 20-minute special on the global phenomenon of people embracing singlehood rather than treating it like a disease. I’m on at 1:12 (in English) telling the “creation story” of quirkyalone of how I first came up this this idea on New Year’s Day 2000—and then we have all kinds of stories and analysis about people living single and/or alone in Brazil, the US, Sweden, worldwide. A great special, especially if like me you have a sweet spot for that lilting, lyrical Brazilian Portuguese. Check it out here!

Jumping in the discussion on the “extraordinary rise and surprising appeal of living alone”

I will be on KCRW’s national news affairs program “To the Point” tomorrow Wednesday 11-12 with sociologist and fellow examiner of the modern human condition Eric Klinenberg. We’ll be talking about his excellent book Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone. The topic will be the growing global phenomenon of people living alone. As the author of Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics, I provide the on-the-ground commentator perspective as well as a global view from having interviewed so many quirkyalones. Let me be equally clear that although I am a kickass commentator on this trend and an advocate for quirkyalones and quirkytogethers everywhere (and I actually really love living alone), my heart is very open to finding my beloved and a future in which I might not live alone. Just had to throw that personal note in there!

I have a review of Eric’s book coming up and I have been so busy writing a book of my own I haven’t been posting much, but this too will come.

Is One the Quirkiest Number?

When did the media get so into quirkyness? I thought that was my sole territory. Now the New York Times plays up the quirky habits of solo dwellers in the Home Section. The reporter may be confusing the quirky behavior of living alone with other kinds of issues, like, forgetting to put your clothes on when you leave the apartment. But I do adore being quoted in the New York Times talking about eating “discrete objects” for dinner. And this piece has brought the quirkyalone movement to many readers who had not yet heard of it, and for that I am glad.

StyleMob has been sold to Glam! Contrary to what Valleywag says, I am not unhappy

I’ve finally arrived in the tech world. I’ve been gossiped about on Valleywag, the tech blog in the well-designed, but icky Gawker empire. I agree with all my journalist friends that these bloggers are NOT journalists.

On Thursday, Valleywag reported that Glam Media bought my company StyleMob. They also reported that I continue on as the sole employee at StyleMob and I’m not happy about the Glam deal. Hmmmm. No one asked me. Here are the facts: I’m now working for Glam as a product manager in charge of social media and community. I’m also continuing to work on StyleMob. While my personal happiness level changes on a daily basis, I think it’s safe to say that I’m happy to have sold my first company. I do, however, love the idea of a blog reporting on my happiness though. The emotional paparazzi!

I’m looking forward to building even more web communities. This time I’m coming full circle with quirkyalone. Watch out world, for quirkytogether. . . !