The 5 important reasons I keep a list

Keeping a list can make a huge difference to the way your day turns out. Find out my top 5 reasons to keep a list.

Those who know me will understand that I am always writing things down on one list or another. I have quite a few, all with different purposes. I have my shopping list (always on my phone so I can never lose it), my home to do list, my work to do list and a variety of other lists such as a camping packing list and party planning list, depending upon what is needed at the time.

For those who are not convinced that keeping a list works for them, here are a couple of reasons why I think you should reconsider.

1) So you don’t forget something

Most people appreciate the need to keep a shopping list. We have all had the experience of going to the shops for a couple of important items, returning home with a bag full and finding out that we have forgotten one of the major things we went for in first place. By having these things written down somewhere it allows me to think about something on a Monday and remember what it is when I finally get a chance to go to the shops on a Saturday. In my other lists it also means that I don’t forget to write the meeting minutes or to call the plumber.

2) As a brain dump

I don’t know about you but I have so many things I am responsible for in my work, home and family life that if I don’t write things down I can’t possibly remember them all. Writing them down definitely means less stress on my memory. Our short term memories only hold a limited amount of information. If you are relying on memory alone to keep a track of everything you need to do then you will end up forgetting something. You only need to forget a very important thing once and you will be a list convert in no time.

3) Allows you to control your time

If I don’t list down all of the tasks I need to complete each day then I will inevitably run out of time long before I get to the end of them. Of course it is important to consider whether there are too many things on that list in the first place but this is easier to do than you might think. I look at my long to do list, decide what things must be done today and then make a time to do each of those things.

4) Allows you to focus on what is important

Of course, simply writing a never-ending list will most likely result in creating more stress and a feeling of overwhelm. Often we can only think about the number of jobs needing to be done rather than focusing on the things that are the most important to do and leaving all other things until later. I use my Lifewrangling Planner to determine the important items I will do today and to work out when I will be able to do them.

5) Gives you a sense of satisfaction

There is nothing more satisfying than the feeling I get when I cross an item off my list. To get to the end of my work day and see all of the items crossed through allows me to go home and properly relax with my family. The weight of unfinished tasks can take a huge toll mentally and pull us away from the things we really should be doing once we have left work for the day. Of course it is important not to overestimate the amount you can get done or this might backfire on you.

It is also lovely to be able to celebrate all of the things achieved in a day rather than to fret about all of the things left undone. My list does that for me.

So if you are not a list maker, I encourage you to give it a go for a couple of days and see what a difference it can make.