Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Importance (and Fun!) of Making Lists

I love to make lists. I write them all the time. Mostly it's the standard 'to-do' list of course (which never gets done, but that's okay), but I also make lists just for fun and sometimes to keep things in perspective.

Around this time of year we're usually making lots of lists (and maybe even checking them twice). We're listing what we need to do to get ready for the holidays, what presents we need to buy, maybe even our New Year's resolutions.

Lists are important because they serve as a guide, a plan or even a record. They are a necessary instrument in helping us get things done and helping us to remember things. From the simple grocery list to the list of names on the Veterans Memorial, lists are everywhere.

We need lists, but making them need not always be a serious chore. Here's how to have some fun with lists:

Make a list of your hopes and dreams. Write down all the things you'd like to do - travel, start a family, become a doctor, whatever it may be. Put together your wish list for life.

Start your own book of lists. Buy a blank journal style book and write down some lists. They could be anything from your favorite childhood memories to your favorite movie moments.

I have an old cloth covered blank book I bought at a bookstore that I've written lists in over the years. I have lists of things that make me happy, my favorite songs of all time, things I hope they never stop making (like Diet Dr. Pepper), memories, etc. It's a fun hobby, and it's something I can look at from time to time and enjoy.

Write down all the things you want to remember. They could be funny things that happened or what flowers you want to plant in the summer or plans for decorating the living room. Any ideas that come to you or little stories you want to be able to share with others later. This is especially important if you like to write. I have a list of things I want to write about on my blog, and I add the ideas as they come to me.

Some great things about lists:

  • They help you stay motivated.

  • They help you stay on task.

  • They give you a sense of accomplishment when you finish something and cross it off the list.

  • They help you remember things and generate ideas.

  • They can inspire you.

Don't be afraid to go "off-list" from time to time. Just because something isn't on your shopping list doesn't mean you can't get it. There's nothing wrong with impulse buys if we can afford them. And if a task on your to-do list doesn't get done, it's certainly not the end of the world.

Sometimes we have to break away from the structure of our list and improvise.

Recommended reading:

The Book of Lists by David Wallechinsky, Irving Wallace & Amy Wallace. This book has lists dealing with all different topics from animals to sports to movies. A good read for anyone who's a fan of lists.

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