The Power of The List

Making a list may seem like such a simple task with little or no effect on your life as a whole, yet lists can significantly change your life for the better. When most people think of a list they think of a piece of paper with various grocery items scribbled down, or "to-do" tasks from around the house. These lists are the most common kinds of lists, but they are just the beginning to a more organized and manageable life. Even if you don't think of yourself as a very organized or neat person, starting out by making simple lists may change the way you run your life. Lists have endless powers, and it's safe to say that the list of benefits that comes with lists is miles long. Here are a couple.

1) Promote productivity.

Lists promote productivity by reminding you of how much you have accomplished, and how much you still need to accomplish. Sometimes beginning a task can seem like an impossible mountain to climb without the free space to write down ideas, and tasks that will help you get the job done. I recommend to begin by writing down the basic steps that are required in order to complete a task, and later break each step down to include every small detail that must be tended to. This way you can get an overview of what must be done, and later draw a focus on the things which are imbedded within each task. By working in this order you are also able to prioritize, and make sense of what is of paramount importance and what is less imminent. Simply by making a list, if you don't get any further, you've got a start. Writing a list means that you have given some time to think about a task and are beginning to move toward action, which is a lot better than nothing.

2) Clear your head.

When I begin to feel overwhelmed and powerless I make lists, not only of things that I need to do, but also of things that I have done. This is important because too many times we write huge lists of things we need to do, and feel so exhausted by the list that we don't get moving on anything. By writing down what I have done I am able to remind myself of how much progress I have made, and how far I have come which helps me move forward with purpose. When I move on to make lists of things I need to do, my head begins to lighten up as if I'm unloading the weights off of the machine when I transfer things to my "to-do" list. By making a visual aid where I am able to see my workload, I feel as if I can begin to move forward and stop swimming in anxiety about how much needs to be done. In other words, my head space gets a nice cleaning, and I feel free enough to be productive because all my thoughts aren't trapped in my head.

P.S. : To-Do lists can get a little boring, and seem un-interactive. A different version of the to-do list is the do-doing-done list in which three separate sections of a white board or paper can contain sticky notes with different tasks that must be completed in order to reach your goal. As time progresses, move the sticky note from "do" which means that it must get done to "doing" which means that you are actively working to get it done, finally to "done" which means that you are one step closer to success! Another tip here is to add dates to the sticky notes to hold yourself accountable for getting things done in a timely manner!

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