Organizing Lists

Whether you’re considering the upcoming holiday in the USA of Thanksgiving, you’re thinking business, or just about your busy life in general, one essential tool is list-making.  Sure, you can make lists for everything, and in countless ways.  The most obvious and typical is the handwritten or hand-typed list.   But speaking as a former listaholic, they don’t always serve their purpose well.  Let’s talk about some advantages and list making ideas.

Advantages:

  • Lists keep you organized
  • Lists help you arrange your day
  • Lists help you know where you need to be
  • Lists remind you of what you need to do each day
  • Lists help you remember what to get at the store
  • Lists help you keep clients, suppliers and other business connections in order
  • Lists help you stay on task and on time
  • Lists give you the satisfaction of crossing something off your to-do list

Let’s face it, lists can be very helpful.  But not all lists are equal.  Let’s talk about some ways to really maximize your list.

  • Make a daily list. List ONLY things you MUST do that day on that list.  That way your daily list will be completed, and you won’t be carrying over items to the next day.
  • Make a monthly list.  This list has items you must do every month.  This is especially prevalent with bill paying or clients you only see monthly.
  • Make a ‘must get done eventually’ list.  This list will have those tasks around the house, some of the cleaning, shopping or business tasks that really do need to be done, but they aren’t a priority.  This list should be addressed when 1) your daily list (point 1) is completely done (or you’re in between appointments, appointments cancel or you don’t have prescheduled to-do’s) or 2) when you have free time.
  • Be serious & realistic when you’re making your lists.  Really consider the time commitments each item will take, scheduling in extra time for traveling and unexpected items that must be addressed.
  • Try very hard not to over schedule. Only put on your list what you’re really going to accomplish that day.
  • Organize your lists.  Create them with pencil, erasable pen, or on the computer so that you can rearrange as things change and so you can edit them while you’re writing them  (if you can’t stand pencil/computer for lists, drawing arrows is fine, but leave room at the bottom of the page then).  Organizing them by hour, location, or priority, depending on your preference, is a great idea.
  • Schedule in family, friend and you time.  Set aside time daily/weekly/monthly to spend time with family and friends.  Also set aside daily time to spend on yourself, whether it be a shower/bubble bath, reading a book, a cup of tea/coffee or a glass of wine at a point in time during the day or some other activity that you find relaxing and rejuvenating.

Finally, the debate between creating your list on the computer or your phone, and hand writing the list.  The biggest selling point to the hand-written list is crossing off each item once it is completed.  Not only does it give you a sense of satisfaction to cross items off, and you can see the progress you’re making.  Sure doing it on the computer (or your phone) saves trees, but that requires you have the computer with you at all times.

Share your thoughts on list-making, and whether you use a computer, paper or both to write your lists below.

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