Are you a list maker? Let’s talk.

I am a list maker. When I feel my most overwhelmed about stuff, it’s usually because I don’t have a clear idea of what the heck I’m doing. It usually starts innocently enough – something comes up, and I either rub my hands together getting all excited or drop my hands and groan, and start making some mental notes. Then something else might come up, meaning more to juggle in my brain. If I’m not paying attention, it will just keep piling up in my noggin, with more details or new things popping up. I think I’m doing okay so I keep going. And pretty soon I am a hot mess, forgetting things, 

Can you relate? Just me? Okay – well let me tell you what brings me back from the edge.

A list.

Really, something so basic and easy can totally save the day. Have you noticed how that can happen? When life gets complicated, take it back to basics.

Anyway, making a list is super helpful to a scattered state of mind. This may not be new information to you, and I’m sorry to state the obvious, but I know I totally miss this sometimes, trying to keep up with all the chaos. I tend to get going down a road and try so hard to move along no matter what comes flying at me from the other direction. I forget I have tools to make it a smoother ride.

Here’s how I make a list – I use a list maker app on my phone (To Do) because I usually have my phone hanging around. When I have an idea, I try to throw it on a list before I lose it completely. I have a daily list that I can move unfinished things from previous days to, and I also have lists for big enough things that have multiple steps. 

(As a side note, I also keep my grocery list by store, and have lists for places to go, movies to see, home project ideas, etc.)

I sometimes use paper, which I LOVE – I was a huge fan of paper planners and beautiful pads of paper – but that doesn’t always move around with me very well. There is just something about seeing a list of crossed off items, right?

Point is, getting all the details down somewhere other than bouncing around in your brain is incredibly basic, but also incredibly freeing, powerful, and motivating. Having a list gives your noodle space and energy to focus without craziness crowding in, gives you some control, and helps you to see how you can use your time. You have a big picture, which is much easier to plan from. 

Next step – maybe you’ll want to prioritize just a bit. Choose a few things that are most important and get to work on those. You’ll also be able to see small tasks that you can plug into some down time. 

Sometimes when I see my list, I get overwhelmed by the amount of stuff on it. When that happens, it really does help to not panic, and focus only on the priorities or the next steps. If it really is too long with stuff that isn’t valuable, give yourself permission to let some things go. No need to get too caught up in the length of the list, just be the boss of it and make it work for you in a helpful way, not in a freaking out way.

So, do you make lists? Any tips or tricks you have found especially helpful? Please share!


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