Ten Reasons to Make a List


Check out these 10 great reasons making a list makes good sense:

  1. Lists make things manageable. When faced with a complex job, breaking it down creates a sense of achievability. Divide that big chore into smaller, concrete tasks and one by one, inch your way to accomplishing the overall goal.
  2. Lists make sure we don’t forget anything. You remembered the sunscreen, got your vaccinations, changed your voice mail, and packed beach clothes. If you’ve forgotten your passport, though, you’ll be spending your vacation at home, not a tropical destination. If only you’d made a list of essentials…
  3. Lists help us make decisions. Writing down pros and cons in a list can clarify the right move to make.
  4. Lists help relieve stress. Knowing we’ve made a list lessens the pressure we put on ourselves to remember everything. Even if you normally have total recall, life can get busy, so why not write a list and free up some memory space for other tasks?
  5. Lists capture flashes of brilliance. When ideas pop into your head, lists are a great way to store them before they fly away to Never Never Land. Keep a small notebook handy or use your smart phone to record ideas as they occur to you.
  6. Lists help put things into perspective. The next time you’re worried about something, make a list of all the things you imagine will happen if the worry is not resolved. Don’t analyze them, just write them down. Once you have your list of worst case scenarios, sit back and look at it. What’s the likelihood of them actually happening? Probably not much. Remember, your thoughts are not real, nor is your imagination.
  7. Lists highlight what’s important to us. If we’re having a bad day, remembering things we hold dear can make us feel better. Sometimes called a Gratitude List, this practice takes us out of ourselves and focuses on what’s really valuable in our lives.
  8. Lists are easy and fast to make. You can make a list in any form you want: long or short, scribbled or typed, legible to others or in your own shorthand. They offer a chance to be edit-free—there’s no right or wrong way to make a list.
  9. Lists give us a sense of accomplishment. When we write something down, the odds of getting it done are much higher. Whether you cross out, tick or put an x beside a completed item, indicating you’ve finished something is very satisfying.
  10. Lists stimulate creativity. Consider keeping a running list of project ideas. Not make-work projects, but fun things to do, places to visit, titles for stories, skills to learn, new food to try, and books to read. Use lists to get excited about life!

Some Common Lists: Bucket, To-Do, Wish, Most Wanted, Top Ten, Shopping, Check, Reading, Grocery, Hit, Reference, Mailing, Gratitude…

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