I have a confession to make, I love making lists and there are some brilliant ways to use lists to help organise your life. After all, who doesn't love a good list? Just me? Ok, bear with me. I also believe that lists have a tremendous amount of power. I know it sounds crazy, but lists are amazing and can help make your life calm and stress-free (well, almost!). I do put my minimal stress levels down to what I call the list effect. Whenever I am stressed, the mere act of making a list seems to make the stress subside. So here are some of the ways to use lists to help bring you as much joy as it brings my life. Ok, perhaps I'm playing fast and loose with the word 'joy' here, but it certainly helps me!
1. To do List
I will start with one of the most obvious ways to use lists. It's easy to feel overwhelmed with the amount of things that you have to do on a daily basis but lists really do help. It's something I have shared with my students and they too have started to extol the benefits, so I am happy that they're learning something from me! Whenever I write things down on a list, I achieve them. It's very strange but it seems to work for me. On a small scale, these can be done on a day to day or week to week basis, but my friends and I have a New Year to do list where we get together and write down a list of things we're going to achieve that year. Some call this a 'life list' and it's become something of a tradition amongst us. Funnily enough, we achieve almost everything we write on the list.
2. Grocery Shopping List
These are essential to ensure that you stick to your budget. Without a shopping list, you are more inclined to give in to marketing, advertising or the fabulous charm of the sales' assistants, and your wallet will suffer as a consequence. Also, don't throw the list out. I find it useful to keep the list for the next shop for when items need replacing.
3. Gratitude List
These are great for giving you a boost. You just write a list of all the many good things going on in your life that you're grateful for. This is a great tool to remind you to look at the positive things in your life and studies have shown that doing this regularly can lead to greater health and happiness overall. I'm so grateful for lists!
4. For and against List
Ok, this is a list of pros and cons. We all saw it in Friends when Ross wrote a list of the pros and cons of going out with Rachel. Yeah, that didn't end well and she was pretty offended by it but it can be a useful tool to weigh up the positive against the negative. I use it when I'm trying to decide whether something is a good idea by weighing up the good against the bad and the ugly. I have found it to be particularly effective too!
5. Present List
When I found out that a certain someone was making a list and checking it twice - finding out who was naughty and nice - I was so glad I had finally found someone who shared my love of lists! Such a shame he's fictional. Making a list of presents for family and friends is another way to ensure that you're going to stick to your budget and not buy more than you need, which is dangerous at this time of year!
6. Contact List
Way before the advent of the mobile phone, computer technology and heaven forbid, AWS (how did we live without it, I often ask myself), there was this implement called a pen and this white stuff called paper. How I sometimes miss it. Although this technology, in many ways, is saving trees and the planet etc, when technology folds, the world freezes. How about making a list of your contacts on good old fashioned paper and keeping it in a draw for our old friend, Justin Case? You never know when you might need it!
7. Reading List
Reading lists are great. How many times have you heard of a book and then swiftly forgotten the title as soon as you got to the book shop? I have, but then I discovered lists. Add it to your reading list and that annoyance will become a thing of the past. Reading lists are good for both prospective and past reading and are also essential if you're studying and need to reference something you have read. There is nothing worse than realising you quoted from something and forgot to write down the source.
So, highly organised or obsessive-compulsive? You decide. How many of you out there are a fan of lists like me? It will make me feel slightly less insane if I hear from a fellow 'listomaniac' so do share!