Everyone makes lists for a variety of reason; from remembering the items you need from a shop, to outlining the key points you are going to discuss in that important pitch to a client. Lists are great to help jog your memory and remember things, but did you know there are many other benefits of making lists? Lists can increase productivity, improve motivation, as well as having several health benefits. The only appropriate way to present these benefits was in a list; so may I present, my list of why to create lists.
“The human animal differs from the lesser primates in his passion for lists.” – H Allen Smith
Lists are are a great way to keep yourself motivated and avoid the dreaded procrastination. If you set out a clear list of what needs to be done, you will be more motivated to carry out all of the tasks on the list. Another reason why lists improve motivation is due to the fact that they are finite. If a person can see the end goal of a set of tasks, they will be more motivated to carrying them out.
2) Improved Memory
This is the obvious one however it shouldn’t be forgotten about; lists are great for helping us to remember things. The weekly shopping list, jobs around the house that need doing or assignments that are due in, everyone has a use for lists. If you make a list of everything you have to remember, it frees up your mind to process and remember other things.
3) Reduced Stress
And relax… Lists are a great way to reduce stress and anxiety, and allow the mind to focus on the important things. If someone can see all of the tasks they have got to do, they can then set a plan on how to tackle these tasks, thus reducing stress as they know exactly what needs doing, and they are not overloaded by information.
The first thing I do every morning is create a “to do” list of all of the tasks that I need to carry out that day, either on my whiteboard, phone, piece of paper or notepad document. I also estimate how much time each task is going to take me to complete. I tackle all of the tasks one by one during the day, and fit them in when I have time. Only got 10 minutes until a scheduled phone call? Complete one of the shorter tasks on your list. This way your utilising all of your free time during the day.
“People are attracted to lists because we live in an era of overstimulation, and lists help us in organising what is otherwise overwhelming” – David Wallechinsky
I couldn’t have put it better myself David. Modern life is hectic, and sometimes everything can seem a tad overwhelming. Lists help to bring order to what is otherwise a chaotic life we live in.
6) Achieve Goals
I deem a day to be successful, if I have achieved or worked towards a goal. Lists help people achieve both long term and short term goals, even if that goal is just to complete a task on your to do list. Putting a great big cross through a task that’s been looming over you for weeks is one of the most satisfying feelings during the day.
Like this article? Check out the Book Of Lists by David Wallechinsky.