Unsolicited Advice regarding PTW and On-Hold Lists

I consider myself pretty good at organization, planning, and sometimes with enough ambition execution. While on my break, I did a bit of ‘spring cleaning’ going through my Plan to Watch and On-Hold sections of both MAL and MDL. For me, that’s not too big of a deal but I often see these lists referenced but rarely discussed online. Admittedly, because for some these lists aren’t really lists but just a jungle of opportunities and half-finished series.

So, considering myself okay at giving advice I’ve decided to talk about some tips to better manage these lists. The goal being the more organized, and smaller they are, the more likely you’ll be able to actually get to these titles. I’m not going to pretend anything is ground-breaking, but I’ve been complimented by my real-life friends (yes, I still have some of those) that these were actually helpful. So let’s see what I have for you…

Whenever you put a series ‘on-hold’, write down the reason why. There’s a big difference to putting something on hold due to it being a group watch that hasn’t gone smoothly, verses decreasing interest in a series. Writing down a reason, verses just putting it on hold, makes it easier when you try and get back into it later on, or finally decided to drop it.

Pick a time once a year to go through your on-hold list, and start dropping things.

I am going to say something controversial: that title from pre-2010 that you put on hold 3 years ago after watching the first two episodes at 1AM thanks to a watch mojo video said it would melt your mind but you remember nothing about it even after re-reading a plot synopsis and someone’s episode discussion – drop it. You’re not coming back to it anytime soon.

It’s been proven that the longer you put something off, the less likely you are to come back to it. It might also be time to self reflect that your ‘on-hold’ list is more of a soft drop one. Yeah, it sucks when a recommendation from someone you trust doesn’t work out. But no one likes watching something that’s just average, when you could watch something else. My personal limit is if I don’t get back to a series after two years, it’s time to drop it.

If you have a movie on-hold, unless you wrote down something like ‘didn’t finish due to a broadcasting/connect error’; drop it. I am a firm believer that in most cases with movies, you’re either invested enough to finish it or not. The only exceptions I make are for films that are 3+ plus long.

Lastly, for managing your on hold list, start bumping those almost finished titles up in your watching habits. I usually do this between seasons, or when I would have longer travel days. It makes it easier to commit to finishing it. Trust me, that feeling of satisfaction of finally finishing that one troublesome series, is always worth it.

Now we move into the uncharted territory of PTW. Which can be summarized in one of two mindsets the – ‘Hey, that looks neat and I wanna watch that eventually’ or as my lovely friends have said – ‘ Where recommendations go to die”. Let’s try and make it the former not the latter, shall we?

Just like with on-hold titles, write a note why you put this title on your PTW. It sounds dumb, and repetitive, but it works. I have a stack of titles with little notes about who recommended that title. So when I do decide to start it, I have the knowledge of someone I trust gave their seal of approval first.

Personally, I’ve gotten way picker about what titles stay on my list. If I can’t remember off the top of my head, and there’s no memo about where this title came from: it gets deleted. Trust me, you won’t miss them.

Don’t add titles (too) prematurely. The endless upcoming pages are a dangerous entity to check. I use to be the type where any title that I had a fragment of interest in would go on to my PTW without any thought.

However, coupling that endless upcoming stuff, with recommendations, and anything else; it’s a bit too easy for a curated PTW to turn into a couple hundred titles long with hairsplitting differences as to why those titles got there.

I have done my best to keep my list to just a few variations: titles I want to watch due to having enjoyed the manga, titles people have recommended, titles I saw somewhere else and thought were interesting, and finally stuff that’s coming up in the next year. Keeping it simple, has done wonders from getting me overwhelmed when picking something new to start.

So those were my nice and kind recommendations for manging those lists. Hopefully you found a lot of my very obvious tips, somewhat helpful. And hey, maybe you’ll get around to sprucing up those lists so they’re a little more manageable in the future.

But now, I want to convey the ultimate advice that I can not give out of personal experience, but I have seen in action. Those that have taken the plunge have said nothing but wonderful things about their experiences with doing so. This piece of advice, is applicable to both on hold and PTW lists.

This monstrous choice that even has the strongest warriors quaking in their boots?

Deleting every single title on your PTW, and On-hold. And then never use either format again.

Again, I speak not from experience as I am a lover and advocate for listing and tracking things of interest to me. However, I did witness on MDL a specific user, who decided to just delete everything from their PTW list. I did not follow this user’s experience closely, but MDL is a pain in the ass where you have to delete titles manually from your PTW feature. So… having one in the hundred’s is an hour or more of clicking delete over and over again.

I do remember, that they said they’d felt more relaxed than ever watching shows and series. If they saw something interesting they just started watching it. If something got boring in the middle, they’d drop it. I know a few others did the same, and it seems to have worked out from them. I can’t confirm how many users have adopted this since I stopped using public feeds ages ago on MDL.

But it’s food for thought if you ever reach a breaking point and just wanna go “Fuck it” and completely eliminate any source of stress from those lists.

Anyway, thanks for joining me on this particular babble. I hope some tidbits were interesting or maybe you got something out of this post. Otherwise, I’ll see you next post with something a bit less babble-y!


  1. Haha two mass problems when you join sites like Ani list to track your’e what you’ve completed, watched. I don’t use these sites to just track what I’m watching but as reference mainly for my blog or podcast for info and such. My plan to watch list I don’t mind letting grow to be honest, soon as I’m told or see a series I’ve never heard of it’s going on there girl!

    On hold there are some series that have been on hold forever, just at the moment I’m going through what I’ll drop or restart at beginning for later on. Already my on hold list is looking much better. By end of today I’ll have barely nothing there to worry about, knowing I can start another series or rewatch something I’ve been meaning too. I’ll be real I’ve reached the peak of 30 now and I’ve realised some serious changes need to happen with my anime watching prioritize those ones I never did and those unknown ones I never did. I have been doing so since the start of the year and has made free time feel more free. I knew I had to make these changes.

    I really enjoyed your reasonable, logical approach on this subject not many people address!! and hello it’s been a while 🙂


    • I’ve always been the type to forget where I was in something, so I such a tracker type for those sites. But having them on hand for your blog and podcast is a really helpful benefit too! Also, I am so jealous of you being able to just let your list grow!

      I felt exactly that same way. At one point before joining WordPress I think I had something like 50 odd titles on hold? Like I just couldn’t commit to them or didn’t want to admit I didn’t like them the same way my friends did *cough cough Black Butler cough cough*. But I’m glad your on-hold is looking for manageable so you can enjoy watching again!

      Lol, I like to think this was logical but who knows? And hello! It’s been forever!~


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