The Benefits of Making Lists to Get Organized

Lists should be part of your daily and weekly planning

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

My husband is a list maker. I am a planner. What is the difference?

Planning forces you to consider not only what you need to do but why and how. It is less immediate, meaning that the focus is not on what must be done today, but on future goals that could be weeks, months, or years into the future.

To me, lists have always felt like endless duties I need to tackle and check off. And the only reward for finishing the list is that I get to create a new list of things that must be done the next day. When scanning a list, I usually feel overwhelmed. Planning, on the other hand, allows me to dream and imagine a better future and to create projects and activities to make those dreams a reality.

However, though I’m not a fan of lists and tend to resist them, I have realized that I do need lists, because they are useful within the planning system. Those projects and activities that I love to create, eventually, must be broken down into actionable steps that will most likely require me to make a list.

The psychology of using lists

Gets us to take action and be more productive

Once we write something down, it becomes real. Psychologically, we are more likely to accomplish our goals if we write them on our “to-do” list because the act of writing them down means we must get those duties done.

Lessens stress

Seeing what we need to accomplish written down on a list rather than keeping the list in our heads makes us feel less stressed and overwhelmed. Once it’s on paper, we know we will not forget and can easily refer to the list when needed.

Motivates us

We also can break down a large project by making a list of what needs to be accomplished. This helps to chunk down a larger project, making it less scary. For writers, an item that states write scene 3 in chapter 12 instead of a work on writing my book is much more specific and manageable mentally. The success of accomplishing each small goal gets us closer to completing the larger project, which…