Why I use lists to keep organised.

I am a list maker, I use lists to keep organised! Since about the age of 17, I have made lists. Back then the lists were for revision, and chores. But now, I have lists for everything. They help to keep me on track, and make each day productive. With 4 children, I need lists just to keep a basic level of organisation! But I also use them to motivate myself to reach bigger goals too.

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Some people I know have a “rolling list”. By that I mean they just continually add to their list and cross bits off as they go, but the list never ends. I like to feel I have completed a list, so a rolling list doesn’t entirely work for me.

I like to have 7 things on my list at any one time. Why 7? Well, 5 things on a list I find is too few and 10 is too many. So 7 is the perfect number for me, and for as long as I have written lists that’s the number of things I include!

Why does using lists to keep organised work for me?

On my lists I always include an easy thing which I can get done quickly. If the list is for housework, it might be something like load and switch on the dishwasher. Find a task which needs doing which you find easy and always include that! I do it first, so that I am going into the rest of the day in a productive manner.

Sometimes if the goal is big, it can seem intimidating. This is why 7 is always my magic number when it comes to lists – just enough to keep busy without overwhelming me.

Using Lists for a Big Goal

If the list is for a bigger, longer goal, maybe a fitness plan? 7 things may not be enough. So, I write the goal down. But then break that goal down into smaller points. For example. If you want to start running 5 km races, you might write on your list “download Couch to 5 k”. Then, focus on each week of the Couch to 5 K plan. Create a list for each week you are doing couch to 5 K.

e.g. Week 1 – You might find you need to replace your running trainers. Run 3 times a week – include each run as a point on your list. Whatever you need to get through the first week, write it on your list. Getting through the first week of Couch to 5 k is putting you closer to your goal – celebrate that!

The joy of lists is you are in control. I find them a great way to motivate myself. Once I start seeing my journey on paper, it inspires me to keep going. It’s a great kick starting point.

Of course, lists might not work for you, some people prefer charts, graphs, journals. But I find that using lists to keep organised really does work for me. Even when lists don’t get completed, I like to feel I’ve really given them a good try. Some things get carried forwards. Some, I leave to one side to return to at a later date.