Why I Love Lists

April 9, 2018

I am one of those people who love to make lists. I write them constantly, and often I save them in a folder and go back to them. Without further ado, here’s a list of the reasons (in no particular order) why I love to make lists:

  1. Lists help keep me focused on priorities.
  2. I feel a sense of accomplishment when I check something off a list, and it motivates me to complete other items on the list.
  3. Lists help me to organize my thoughts and ideas.
  4. Lists move me forward and help me reach my goals.
  5. Lists keep me from forgetting things, especially when going on a trip or to the grocery store.
  6. I love the feeling of writing–the feeling of a fine-tipped pen on the smooth surface of paper, the flow of the words from the pen, the looping and crossing of the letters…I’m not really the type to make electronic lists, but I’m sure they work well for many people.
  7. List making is a good habit to model for my children.
  8. Lists help my kids stay on track with their homework and chores.
  9. Lists capture my ideas when I’m brainstorming.
  10. Lists help me to break large tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces.
  11. Writing lists is therapeutic for me–they help to give me a sense of control.
  12. Lists are a great way to start any kind of writing–letters, business documents, stories, poems, papers, etc. I remember I had a teacher once that had us start writing poems with a “grocery list”–just imagery words that we might want to use somewhere in our poem. It’s  less pressure and less daunting to start with just a few words.
  13. Continued from #12: Lists can galvanize into something bigger!

I also realized that there are many types of lists. Here’s a list of different kinds of lists:

  1. Grocery lists
  2. Packing lists
  3. Honey-do lists
  4. Checklists
  5. To-do lists*
  6. Top 10 lists
  7. Menus
  8. Recipes
  9. Outlines
  10. Table of contents
  11. Dean’s list
  12. NY Times Bestsellers list
  13. Bibliographies
  14. Wish lists
  15. Santa’s list (you know, naughty & nice)
  16. Address list
  17. Christmas list
  18. Instructions
  19. Ballots

*Full disclosure: there’s always one item on my to-do lists that never gets done: mop the kitchen. I hate mopping.

There are also some negative types of lists, but I ‘ve decided not to include them here.

Checklists can even save lives! There is a great podcast on Hidden Brain with Shankar Vedantam about checklists–you can find it here.

You can find Atul Gawande’s book, The Checklist Manifesto, How to Get Things Right at your local library or here.

Bullet Journals combine a calendar/planner with lists. I don’t keep a Bullet Journal, but I use some of the principles in my own planner. You can learn more about Bullet Journals here.

 

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