So it’s no secret that I kind of love lists – bonus if you write them on a pretty printable with cute, colorful pens. If you ask me, you can never have too many lists to help yourself stay organized.
However after many years of avid list making, I have discovered, that you can, in fact, do it wrong! Here’s my advice for creating great lists that will keep your life organized or running smoothly rather than adding to the chaos.
And, please know, I’m sharing most of these things, because, I have actually done all the things before realizing that it wasn’t the best idea. So I’m definitely just as guilty as anyone.
So, here are the top mistakes to avoid:
- You have way too many lists. I think it’s hard to have too many lists, but there is a point where it gets to be too much. If you need a list to organize your lists, you might have crossed the line.
- You have lists in too many places. This is actually pretty common. There are lists in the notes app on your phone, more lists in your favorite to do app, more lists written in your planner, more lists in your favorite notebook, a few more lists on random sticky notes scattered around your home. If you do nothing else, limit yourself to one or two digital homes for lists and one or two physical homes.
- You keep the same information in multiple lists. This makes it hard to have a source for complete information. If you’ve got gift ideas in multiple places, when it’s time to buy gift, you won’t know where to look. Pick one place for each list.
- You don’t refer back to your lists. Don’t write and forget! Keep referring back to your lists.
- Be realistic. Your to do list should not be your wish list of all the things you wish a magical fairy would swoop in and do for you. It should be what you can actually get done.
Here’s what you should do instead:
- Do a “daily upload”. Take 5 minutes before you go to bed while you’re planning for the next day and gather any info that isn’t in the right place and put it there. For example, if you took a photo of a gift idea for your child while you were out shopping, but you keep your gift ideas list in your planner, take the time to put it there.
- Use running lists and temporary lists, and promptly discard those temporary lists. I have running lists in designated places, but then I also use one time lists for a specific purpose. For example, a packing list for a certain trip is a temporary list. Once you’ve packed, throw it away, so you don’t have a lot of papers you don’t need.
- Make a done list! I’m totally on board with adding things to your to do list as you go, so you can check them off.
What has been your experience with list making? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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