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.

New Year’s Resolutions

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.” – Edith Lovejoy Pierce

As the New Year approaches many of us look with great expectation, delight and hope.  The future is uncertain and mysterious.  Where will this new year take us?  How will it change us?

Each time a new year approaches a joy swells within me!  There is a part of me that loves the unknown, filled with excitement and adventure. Having the amazing opportunity of another year to improve, grow, develop, mature and strive for the best.
It also gives me opportunity to see how I have changed and developed over the past year.  Have I developed the skills and matured to the standard I had hoped?

Over the past month I’ve been considering all these things and in such times I have mentally checked what I’ve successfully accomplished and also what needs more improvement.

For a lot of us it’s easy to set goals and targets to accomplish in the coming year but how many of us actually arrive at the end of the year having our list all checked off? Well, not many, according to a study by author and psychologist Richard Wiseman. His research found that 52 percent of resolution-makers were confident that they’d achieve their goals, yet only 12 percent succeeded.

So the question prevails how do we successfully accomplish the goals that we set?

Be Specific

This year, rather than making a broad goal such as “I’d like to exercise more” or “I’m going to eat healthier this year” let’s try making it more specific. How will I exercise more? Make a plan of when and how you’re going to exercise more.  What ways can I make sure I can continually eat healthier? Plan a menu perhaps or think in smaller portions.  Small changes make the biggest difference.

Don’t Give In

If you’re anything like me you’ll arrive at the end of January and feeling like it’s time to press the refresh button and start all over again!  But you must remember that doing your best is as far as it goes.  How about reviewing what you’ve successfully achieved at the end of January and measure yourself at the end of each month?  Maybe that would make progress much easier and more fulfilling.

Do It Now

Does the word “procrastination” have any correlation with goals and success for you?  Well, for me – yes it sometimes correlates very well!  Rather than telling yourself you’ll do it tomorrow or you’ll start next week; why not start today.  Today is just as good as tomorrow or any other day!  And just think – by next week you’ll already be forming that awesome habit!

A Sneek Peek of my 2012 New Year’s Resolutions

For years I’ve been a great sucker for New Year’s Resolutions.  Even when I was much younger I’d write my goals down in a diary (in the neatest hand-writing possible 😉 and keep myself tuned throughout the year to my progress.  Well now, even as an adult not much has changed.  I even still have some of the same goals as back then!   The only thing I guess that has changed – is that my list seems to grow every year and the goals are much more defined and bigger.

Do it in the Morning!
Nothing is more beautiful than the fresh, dewy morning hours!  Perfect, new and untouched they are yours to fill and create.  This year I’m determined to wake up earlier and set aside time to meditate.

Exercise 2+ x Weekly
Really, I’m the person with NIL excuses.  I have an awesome gym membership which is open between 5:30am to 9am.  No more words needed.

Forgive and Forget
This has been weighing on me heavily for the last few months.   Sometimes people are in your life to refine and polish the bumps and unlovely parts.  I have realised that I need to learn to love and forgive even before an apology is granted as it may never come. I need to realise that everyone is doing their best in life.  Give them the benefit of the doubt.

Delete the Negative
This is actually something that has been in progress for the last year and I have been surprised at the fantastic benefits I’ve found both mentally and emotionally when I continually see the good in everything that happens to me in life. It’s my goal to keep pursing this and re-defining it.

Be Grateful and Thankful
Ah, yes.  Everyone – absolutely everyone has so much to be thankful for.  One of my favorite things to do in the quieter moments is to reflect on how I’ve been blessed and how my life has through the twists and turns turned out so wonderfully. (Even though it’s far from perfect!)  I’m committing to taking time out to remember how good God has been to me on a regular basis.

Now . . .
I could easily ramble on for much long detailing my numerous other goals but let’s list a few awesome ones for your inspiration. . .

  • Serve Others
  • Use Google Reader to keep track of websites
  • Put yourself in other people’s shoes
  • Take 100% responsibility for everything that happens to you
  • Live minimistically
  • Be curious. Learn something new.
  • Learn to apoligise
  • Realize that you’re never quite as right as you think you are
  • Let go of things you can’t change. Concentrate on things you can
  • Smile often, even to complete strangers
  • Be honest and take things face-value
  • Take time out to rest and rejuvenate every week
  • Be kind to everyone
  • Become more organized
  • Identify the problem
  • Be polite and be fair
  • Be gentle on myself and those around me