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…
Are you a list person like me? Or do you find that writing a list just stresses you out more?