I don’t think people realize how useful and extremely powerful lists can be in their lives. You can have lists of items, lists of tasks, lists of favourites, lists of important numbers for the babysitter to know, and heck even lists of lists!
A list can be open-ended, so you can add to it as you go — like a packing list for a vacation. Or a list can be closed, so it only has a certain number of items in it — like the top 10 places to go on vacation. A list can be long-running — like all my favourite songs I want to tell my kid about, or it can be short-running — like a weekly grocery list.
When it comes to task-driven lists, like house-cleaning chores, or renovation duties, lists can be important, nay even crucial — like the check-list before piloting a flight, or before a major surgery, or a live televised concert. Knowing what comes in what order, who is doing what, when things are supposed to happen and what to do if unplanned things happen. Lists can save your event and even save lives.
I use lists for ideas — what are the topics of my next blogs, what are possible chapters of my next book, what are good names for characters, what am I getting for the grandkids for a holiday or birthday.. I use lists for items — what did I just pack in this box for storage, so I can see on the outside without opening it and digging, what did I send with my son on his sleep-over that I expect to also come home with him.
I also use lists simply to be a quick memory for myself, say I’m going to the doctor’s and I want to remember the 3 issues to talk about while I’m there. Or if I have a project, what are the questions I have for my supervisor next time we speak. Or jot a point-form list of the things I’d like to touch on in my opening remarks. Or even just a short list of what I need to pick up at any given store — if it’s more than 3 items I am liable to forget!
Lists can be sorted by person, or place, or time, for example: If my family is going on a weekend getaway, I will probably write down a short list for each person of basics to pack, I will break those down by clothes, electronics, and extras. I will likely also say whether things should be packed ahead of time, and those that need to be packed the day of departure, like phone chargers or a toothbrush. And I will write a list of extras for myself, like if we need passports, or money, or reservation printouts. And then I will include a “to buy at store” list, for the pharmacy if I plan on picking up sunscreen or bug spray or headache medicine, etc. And another one, if we’re going camping or might stop for a picnic on the way, I’ll add a grocery store list…. All of this will be collated in one note on my phone or one piece of paper hand-written, over the few days before we need to complete these tasks, so I leave room for adding last-minute adjustments or forgotten items.
Lists are the handy dandy things that work outside of your head to organize and contain all the heavy-lifting for any given task or event. You can use lists on your own, or with other people. Lists are a great way to order data in highest level of important to lowest, so you can decide where to put your focus or what to delegate. You can also use a list to convey what you’d like done by other people. They are an efficient way to convey information to another person without overwhelming them in paragraph format. And they are a great way to categorize information for yourself, when studying or learning something new. Cue-cards with short lists of information are much easier to skim and scan through than the pages of a book.
It was deeply difficult for me to create this post without using a list format — I wanted to give you the top 10 reasons to use a list or 8 great tips for list making or 20 lists you should know by now or … “the list goes on” as they say! If you have read this far and still don’t think lists can be powerful in your life, I’m not sure what else I could say to convince you! Suffice it to say, lists find themselves in all walks of my life and many people like me. They say success is only the right list away — at least, I’m sure someone has said it somewhere, sometime!@!#$!@