The Brilliance of List Making

I love lists.  I have made a list for almost everything imaginable.  Lists for shopping, travel, work, gifts, moving, home organization and the common, every-day, wonderful “To-Do” list.

Yes, I admit maybe I’m slightly obsessive about lists but for me having that fantastic list all checked off and the job finished far outweighs a little ink on paper thrown in the trash.  It’s a prop that reduces wasted time, minimizes disorganization and creates less stress by knowing what needs to be accomplished, how and when.

David Wallechinsky, the co-author of The Book of Lists shares how list-making brings order to what may appear to be complete chaos. “People are attracted to lists because we live in an era of overstimulation, especially in terms of information…And lists help us in organizing what is otherwise overwhelming.”

But I must confess, the real attraction to making a list for me is that it helps aid my vice of procrastination.  Especially when it comes to study loads or the heralding of a busy week at work my first point of call is to my to-do list.  Even though making a list does not actually solve the problem of procrastination it’s a strong pointer and reminder of what needs to be accomplished and enables me to tackle the task one aspect at a time.

The Shopping List

Being a real Forgetful Miss, I have found myself pulling into my driveway way too many times having forgotten the milk or bread!  Ah! My way around it?  Make a list.

You’ll retain your focus on the essentials and not spend your cash on unneeded items.  I even know one organized lass who creates her list according to the aisles in the supermarket.  I can’t say I’m that organized but if the sticky-note doesn’t cut it for you then you can even print-out a template for a time-saver.

The Travel Checklist

Be it an overnight stay or a week long vacation for me this is the essential.  I know if I don’t jot down that last minute thought at 2am in the morning I’m bound to be a few hours down the road when I get that light bulb moment!

Here’s a fantastic travel checklist to get you started!

In the Workplace

My day rotates around an online checklist as my day also depends on other’s schedules and timetables.  During the busy time’s it’s easy to forget to order that lunch for the Solicitors or schedule a flight for the Director.  They’re things that you just can’t forget!  So this makes me best friend’s with Outlook Express Calendar which reminds me before the event to order, double-check, email, call or however the project needs my attention.

Making Your List Do-Able

Lastly, I’d like to share how to make you’re awesome “To-Do” list actually do-able.  I guess it’s like most things in life it will need your attention and diligence.  Yet here’s a few things to bear in mind so you can get that list checked of and in the trash in no time!

Firstly, break it down. There is not much point in taking a colossal project and plonking it on your list and telling yourself to get to it.  It just won’t work that easily!  Say, if you’re project is to clean the office, break it down into smaller tasks.  Clean out the drawer, shred the paperwork, break down the files, sort the mail, etc.  Check each one off as you go and you’ll be pleasantly surprised that in no time you’ve actually cleaned the whole office!

Inspirational writer SARK breaks down her tasks into five-minute increments, and calls them “micromovements.” She writes, “Micromovements are tiny, tiny little steps you can take toward completions in your life. I’m a recovering procrastinator and I have a short attention span, so I invented micromovements as a method of completing projects in time spans of 5 minutes or less. I always feel like I can handle almost anything for 5 minutes!”

Secondly, stop looking at the big picture.  Look at what’s right in front of you.  Your list should contain only the next logical action for all your working projects. That’s it – just one bite-sized step in each undertaking.

Thirdly, Remember your “To-Do” list is not a dumping ground for your long-term dreams and ambitions or “one-day’s” it’s focusing on the here and now.  Only put serious commitments on the list that you’ll complete today or this week.

Lastly, remember, the wise words of Sir Edmund Hillary… “You don’t have to be a fantastic hero to do certain things… You can be just an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated to reach challenging goals.

3 thoughts on “The Brilliance of List Making

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