5 ways I use lists

I love lists.

Here are 5 ways in which lists help me plan, manage and be a little a bit weird in my day to day life.

1. Adding stuff that’s already complete

I often add things to lists after I’ve already done them, just so I can cross them off immediately and feel great.

2. Paper size differs depending on the list

It’s not even always about how much there is to write down. I rarely go over A5 for the majority of planning type lists. However, the weekly food shop list must be on A6. Too big and there’s too much white space. Smaller than this and I can’t sub-divide by shop or area. The food shop list is largely the same every week: I could probably do it from memory, but I never have. If I don’t have the list, I will forget something.

3. The list has to be formatted as a list

I was on a course recently where they introduced mind mapping. To me, this seems like a glorified flow chart with no beginning or end. I found them impossible when writing a ‘to do’ list, but marginally helpful when trying to think more creatively about building characters for a short story. Here’s a nice little article about them and illustration, should you wish to find out more.

4. I have lists saved electronically

I am mocked for my relentless holiday going. And for ages part of the ‘going on holiday’ thing was writing the list. What toiletries do I need? What books? Do I need two or three suncreams? After a while I got a bit sick of writing this all out long hand. I’d always miss something. Passport – d’oh! This would mess up my otherwise neatly written plan and I’d sometimes (not always) rewrite that bit again. So now I have a master list – all the toiletries I might need, all the iterations of books/magazines depending on length of trip, location, time of year saved on my laptop. Each time a holiday comes around, I take the master list and adapt it 🙂

5. Nothing would happen if I didn’t list

I have a pretty full calendar: holidays, events, theatre as well as mundane stuff like food shopping, chores and house planning. If you took away my ability to list, my life would be one long procrasination exercise. Some might say that my listing is a form of procrastination, take what’s on my current weekly ‘to do’ list:

  • Write guest blog for Thrifty Gal
  • Print and adapt holiday list for Zakynthos
  • Write blog entries for this blog
  • Write list for Saturday (Hair cut, picnic food for Leazes park)
  • Plan Sunday (metro/bus times….)

Best get to it!

 * Listography is a notebook that Thrifty Gal gave me while in London a few months ago – it’s nothing like hairography as featured on Glee.