I'm sure you know at least one of these kind of people. They carry notebooks, have copious amounts of post-its stuck around their desks, are always typing notes on their smartphones so they don't forget something.
Not surprisingly, list makers are considered a very organized group of individuals. But the truth about list making goes far beyond simple organizational skills. Making a list changes one's perspective, outlook and determination to complete any task.
Our brains are complete with their own notepad that will hang onto a handful of items to remember. The issue most of us run into is adding more items to this notepad. It automatically causes our short-term memory to forget something in order to make room for our most recent thoughts. If we aren't making a deliberate effort to commit something to our long-term memory, it can be lost forever.
Trying to organize and carry the growing number of things to do in our lives becomes challenging. Here are a few of reasons why list making is so important:
1. Mental clarity
According to NPR, making lists can keep us from procrastinating, relieves stress and focuses our minds. It frees up the brain to tackle one thing at a time.
2. Proof of accomplishment
Making lists can give us a sense of control and satisfaction when we cross items off one by one.
3. Memory aid
If you've made a list, you won't have to worry about forgetting something important.
4. Staying on track
We've all gotten sidetracked at some point in our lives. With all the technological devices at our fingertips, it's easy to lose track of time, and consequently forget the tasks at hand. Making a list and putting it somewhere readily viewable will remind you there are thing to be done.
5. Create reality
Most of us wake up each morning and have a long list of things we would like to get done. The reality is, though, most of us don't complete them. Writing a list will make you see what is realistic to complete in any given day.
As a fitness enthusiast, I'm also a list maker. I find it a vital part of my day-to-day life. I make lists to track the progress of my clients overall health and encourage them to jot down lists of daily, monthly and yearly goals. These lists make them accountable for what they want. I've found that if a list is written right front of you, it'll be harder to ignore. I make lists for things I need to do daily, but also for the core values in my life. My health, my business and my personal growth.
Here are a few ideas on how to get started:
Start simple: Begin by writing down daily tasks, work and professional goals. This will help you get into a routine of making lists.
Put the lists somewhere you will see them often: Taped to your bathroom mirror or tacked up at your desk, lists can only serve to aid your memory when they're available to view.
Make it fun: Buy notepads in bright colors or whatever will be attractive to your eye. These lists should be something you don't cringe while looking at.
Reward yourself: A key part of accomplishing anything is the feeling of satisfaction afterwards. If you manage to cross off all the items on your list, reward yourself with something you enjoy.
Be realistic: In my experience, the clients I've have had who failed at accomplishing items on their lists have set goals too high. It gets discouraging to see something on your list that you're unable to complete. If your goal is to lose 50 pounds, make a short list along with it that includes smaller weight loss goals so you can feel accomplished while on the journey.
Whether mental or pen to paper lists, we all make them. If you're one of the many who rely on your brain to keep it all in order, I suggest you give it a break and try writing it down instead!