This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive commission if you make a purchase using these links.
Do you use lists? Have you seen other people using lists and never really understood why? Do you want to bring some order to your chaos?! Here is some inspiration for you.
I’ve mentioned in the past that I like goals, and lists are a great way to help you with them. I’m hoping you’ll find this useful, and maybe inspire you to do something you’ve always wanted to do.
So why are lists so great?
There are loads and loads of reasons why they are useful. You may or may not be surprised to know what there are scientific reasons as to why human beings love lists.
“Michael Lamb, professor of psychology at Cambridge University and editor of the Journal of Psychology, Public Policy and Law, says there is a clear science behind our love of lists. Many of us, he says, begin a list in order to motivate ourselves. “It provides one with a very clear statement – in this case a motivational statement – that helps one to focus.
“It is also, he says, a way of organising thoughts and ranking them in order of importance. “The succinctness is really crucial, particularly if you are writing it for yourself. You don’t need the extra vocabulary that you would normally put there.” (Daily Telegraph, February 2015)
As you can see from above, humans are naturally drawn to lists. Here are some other reasons why lists are great:
- They are quick – Creating a list can take as long as you want it to take. However generally putting a quick list together takes no time at all. A quick brainstorm on whatever it is you’re doing the list on take a few minutes. You can do them either on your phone or written down.
- They are easy – You don’t need to know about rocket science to make a list. Anyone can make lists, which is Why they are so useful!
- Lists allow you to prioritise your tasks – This is similar to goal setting. To get the most out of a list, especially to do lists, it’s important to prioritise so the most important things get some first. Writing it down list style can really help you prioritise.
- A list can help you structure your day – If you find yourself feeling unorganized, a list can allow you to write down what you need to sort out, and you could even give them timeframes. Setting yourself time for each task on your list helps you with time management.
- They can be never-ending – You can always keep adding to your list! They don’t need to stop (unless you want them to).
- Lists are great for helping you remember – As you may already know my memory is shocking! I have to create lists to keep me on track and help me remember what I need to do. Without lists I wouldn’t remember and get nothing done.
- They can help you bring order to chaos – For those that crumple under any form of stress (like me) to do lists can be great for the brain and lowering your anxiety levels. When you’re feeling overwhelmed and out of your depth, creating a list can be therapeutic and help you to keep calm.
- Lists are perfect for helping yourself getting organized – as mentioned in past posts, lists are great for organizing the day ahead of you. Whether you create them the night before or the morning
What to do with your lists
Don’t overwhelm yourself. It’s very easy to create a list with lots of items on. You may have lots to do but it can be counter-productive.
Too many items can be overwhelming and cause your brain to silently go to sleep. This unfortunately won’t get you anywhere.
Especially if your brain goes to sleep quite often like mine does!
Keep the list short and the tasks simple. The feeling of success once you can strike each bit of your list will encourage you to carry on.
Don’t deal with too many things on your list at one time. I would only recommend dealing with one task at a time. Otherwise you’ll frazzle your brain before you’ve even started!
This is me talking from experience as well. It’s quite easy to do but don’t get ahead of yourself.
Similarly, group similar tasks together if it’s possible. This will help you be more organised and efficient, and allow you to tick off two at a time! Great stuff.
Also, juggling too many lists at one time is not good. It’s great that you want your lists, but having too many types at one time is definitely not good.
You run the risk of overwhelming yourself as I mentioned above, and feel deflated if you can strike them off when you wanted to.
Do categorise your to-do list. This also ties in with goals. I’ve also mentioned this above briefly however keep separate lists under different categories will also help.
Heck you could even create lists for ‘essential’ jobs, ‘medium priority’ and ‘low priority’ if this helps you. Post-it notes are your friend.
Do come back to them. It’s great you’ve decided to write your lists but putting them somewhere but forgetting about them is no use. Plus it’s naughty! Not really.
It’s not great though – you need to review them to see how you’re going. If you don’t, you’ll be drowning in your own brain with the amount of things you need to get done!
What type of lists can you make?
Bucket list, places to visit, lists for your journal, blog lists, tasks, hobbies, thoughts etc. the list of lists you can write is never ending. See what I did there? Haha. These are just a few examples – there are many more.
Whatever you want to achieve, you can create a list for.
What tools are there to help you with your lists?
There are actually lots of useful tools to help with your to-do lists/lists in general.
Depending on whether you prefer paper or a phone, I’ve found a few below for you, because I’m nice like that!
Astrid (Android only): A simple but effective to-do list/planner for your mobile. It also has a social aspect where you can invite your friends to join. You can pay for the premium version to give you more options and tools.
Amazon has some amazing notebooks you can write your list in. Here are a couple I have found whilst browsing. Honestly I love Amazon!
If you want to read any more on goals, I’ve written an article here helping you in setting goals!