10 Reasons Why I Make Lists
My father is very meticulous in everything he does. I have grown up seeing him make lists. While he made grocery lists, expenses list, I have gone a step further and become a compulsive list maker. I make lists for everything… to-do list for work, things to pack for a trip, list of friends to invite for dinner, the dinner menu for a get-together, things to do for diwali cleaning, gifts ideas, ideas for blog posts, bills to pay, list of eateries to explore… then there are wish-lists for books, gadgets… I even have bucket lists and an anti-bucket list too. My notepads on my bedside table, pocket diary in my bag and my smart-phone has lists of all these things and much more.
Today, let me list the reasons why I make lists and you should make lists too…
- Lists bring order to the chaos and help organize better. Lists help in organizing what appears to be overwhelming. Listing the task into smaller do-able parts makes the daunting task less intimidating. Lists provide structure and a plan that you can stick to. For example, Diwali Cleaning usually gives us heebie jeebies, initially. But with a list like this, (this is my last year’s Diwali Cleaning list), the task appears simpler and less overwhelming.
- Lists encourage you to focus on what truly matters. With a list in hand, you can review from time to time the important stuff that needs to be finished first. It keeps you on track and helps to prioritize the tasks, in case you stray away.
- Lists keep you accountable. When you are making a list, you are promising yourself that you’re going to take action. There’s no hiding behind your memory or excuses of more important things to do. When you look back on your list of tasks for the day or goals for the month, you feel responsible. In case you have not accomplished them, you’ll be more driven to go back and complete your tasks or goals.
- Lists boost productivity. Writing the tasks is almost like the first action taken toward getting rid of an item off the list. The key to reaching high levels of performance and productivity is to tackle major tasks first. Focusing on one task at a time from your list, boosts efficiency and helps you to accomplish your goals.
- Lists help in managing time. Lists help you to take control of your time. You tackle the most important jobs first, and don’t waste time on trivial tasks. Since you have already planned and/or thought about the task in advance, you can finish the job easily on time and without any last minute rush.
- Lists improve memory. Writing makes your memory’s job easier. Writing a to-do list transfers the scattered memory of what you have to do down on paper and makes the items unforgettable and practically indestructible. It is proven that when you write something down you remember it longer.
- Lists eliminate stress. “I have a zillion things to do, how am I going to manage to do it all?” This questions pops up frequently during conversations. A list will help you ease these fears. Needless to say, with better planning and better time management, you will be free from unwanted stress.
- Lists act as great reminders. Lists help to remember what you have already done and what is still pending. And with writing a list you are usually not forgetting any important thing.
- Lists increase the happiness and satisfaction quotient. Nothing is more rewarding and satisfying than seeing the tick against the tasks that you have accomplished. It increases your self esteem and helps you stay motivated too.
- Lists evoke nostalgia. Lists are actually the chronicles of your life. If you are writing the various lists you generate in a notebook, you can get an account of your life during a particular period. For example, the list below is some 22 years old and is for the things we needed after marriage, to make our home. And this list always takes me back in time… how we planned, the discussions we had about the curtain colour (how I was stuck on ‘mera wala green!), the shops we scoured between Borivili and Andheri… This notepad has the list of 14 friends we had invited for our first house-warming party…. the names have made my heart do the time travel… it’s been ages we spoke to so many of them…
Whether it’s everyday to-do lists or things to do at work, making lists really help to live a more purposeful life.
Are you a list person like me? Or do you find that writing a list just stresses you out more?
October 11, 2014 11:22 pm|
Lovely post Shilpa…almost makes me want to convert to a list-writer…but…I’m listless when it comes to organizing (sorry for the poor pun). When something really needs sorting…I use excel…but that’s mostly in life-death situations 😆
November 25, 2019 12:31 am|
Wow! U do love list-making. Don’t think I can get around making a list. I normally do not more than 2-3 things at a given time frame, a list is not required in that case.
The last similar thing I tried was to make a study timetable (when in school) I failed at it miserably. So, I am clearly not good at these things.
Good post btw Ms. Garg
November 25, 2019 12:04 pm|
Though I dont make a lot of lists, I do make one when I feel like I have too much to do or not sure on where to start. Definitely all points mentioned by you is true.
November 25, 2019 12:45 pm|
Haha…I love the old list. I’m not a list person, except for making a shopping list. Jose is the list person in our house. I can see how this helps, but I prefer to run things in my head!
November 25, 2019 2:35 pm|
I agree with each of those points Shilpa. Specially the ones about decreasing stress and increasing happiness. That’s what kept me going when I first shifted to this new house. There was just so much to be done, I think I’d have perished without my lists.
November 25, 2019 2:53 pm|
Wow, you sure love making lists! As for me, while I do like the act of crossing things off my list, lists also give me mild anxiety! I don’t use them too extensively – though I have a running list where I just put all my ideas/plans down.
November 25, 2019 8:50 pm|
I like making lists too. They help me keep up with the madness that my life is.
November 26, 2019 7:40 am|
I am like you! I make lists for just about everything as well lol. I like handwriting them too. Sometimes I like typing them but there’s just something about writing them that makes me feel accomplished lol
November 26, 2019 12:22 pm|
I like making lists alot. I used to write my shopping list until I found an app on my phone. I didnt use it too long. I actually prefer writing things down.
November 26, 2019 12:46 pm|
I so agree with you on the need and importance of making lists! It brings down the stress and increases productivity and satisfaction for me at the end of ticking the boxes.
I make shopping lists, grocery lists, blogging lists, everyday to-do-lists, and music lists, And I love it all! 🙂
November 26, 2019 3:58 pm|
That point about the happiness it gives while checking off an item of the list is so damn true. It does wonders for the self-esteem and confidence as well.
I’m an ardent list maker. I just love it! I also have a master list for the other small lists I’ve made 😛
November 27, 2019 9:53 am|
I am totally a lists person. It keeps me sane else there is too much load on the already super crowded brain. 🙂
November 27, 2019 11:41 am|
I am a listomaniac and was nodding my head at all the points. There’s no reason not to make a list. It makes life so easy and gives so much clarity to the tasks ahead. I totally rely on my list of the day. I feel I am more productive with a list than without one.
November 27, 2019 7:20 pm|
These are excellent reasons to make lists, Shilpa and I had a giggle at the post because it’s a list of 10 reasons itself. And that is another great reason to make lists – List posts are one of the top-performing posts on the net, can’t remember if it’s before or after how-to posts – and there’s an idea for your next post. 😉
November 27, 2019 11:22 pm|
I make all these kinds of lists too! I enjoy making them and I enjoy ticking them off too. I have no idea who I got it from though. My dad is not a list maker at all. My mom still doesn’t need a shopping list and yet manages to buy everything she needs to!
November 28, 2019 9:35 am|
I’m not an ardent fan of making lists, but I love it when so many of you mention about it. I make lists and sometimes overwhelmed when I don’t follow it. So I make a different approach to it. I write down tasks as I complete it and make up new tasks and proceed to fill it in the coming pages. Reverse approach. I love your handwriting. I also agree about the nostalgia.
November 28, 2019 2:10 pm|
I love making lists too! Sometimes I put too many things on my list of things to do in a day and don’t get to all of them. But I’m working on that. The next list I need to make is all the housework that needs to be done this week. I usually just do things as they need doing, but I’ve fallen a little behind and need a list to keep me accountable in that department.
November 28, 2019 3:21 pm|
I love making lists, like you, Shilpa! They are everywhere in my home—my diary, on the fridge door, on my dining table, on the kitchen counter. In fact, I need them so much that my life depends on them. 🙂 Agree with your reasons too, because they echo my thoughts. My husband and I are very similar in this matter. But, our son is another person, completely different and never ever makes lists, no matter how often we remind him to do so and consequently forgets half the things he needs to do. Our only hope is that he’ll get there someday! Better late than never, right?
November 30, 2019 11:54 pm|
You say lists improve your memory…
If only I could remember where I put the @#$% list!
(I’m kidding. I was making lists just last night. This is a great post – and I agree with you.)