Saturday, January 10, 2015

Discussion: The Art of List Making

List Making The Right Way Say It With Books
Confession: I'm a list making addict.

I have always made lists. 

Daily to-do lists, resolution lists, grocery lists, lists of blog post ideas, lists of books to read, lists of books I've read, wish-lists, list of long term plans, bucket lists.....You get the idea.
We live in a fast moving world that pauses for no one. We are constantly bombarded by information and it's only natural that we sometimes get caught up in rush and forget our priorities.

We start every new year, heart singing, high on youthful energy with a bazillion plans and goals. Mid year we lose momentum, our plans and goals long forgotten. The rest of the year we go through the motions, aimlessly moving through life.

Well, not this year. This year, I am all about LIVING INTENTIONALLY.

List making is just one step that I take towards making my plans and goals a reality. You could be a self-confessed list addict like me, you could be some one who detests list making or you could be someone who tried this but found it futile. As much as I love spontaneity, I believe that list making is the key to productivity if it is done right.

Yes, there is a right way to make effective to-do lists. But before that lets look at why list making is actually good for you...


Once we are given new information, our brains try to process it. Sometimes there is an instantaneous response sometimes it's a little tougher and this where lists become our saviors.

We are drawn to lists intuitively because they help us process chunks of information a little more efficiently. We humans, have the tendency to categorize everything and lists feed this desire to break down everything into smaller, bite sized components. 
  • Anxiety is a part of life but you don't have give the power to control your life. List making allows you to make sense of your inner chaos and take back control.
  • List making not only eases fear but it allows you to organise your thoughts and focus on your end goal. When your heads spinning, lists put things into perspective and help you to keep the details straight.
  • Writing your list frees your mind and allows you to move onto other things. This way you are not stuck in the what-ifs instead you are present in the moment.
  • Lists provide a road map for your end goal and tell you what steps are needed to tackle your task.
  • And the best thing about list making? The victorious moment when you cross of that item on your list. These small bursts of gratification keep you motivated throughout the day and make tackling the next task much easier.


  • List your annual goals and put this up somewhere prominent. Limit these goals to between 3-5.
  • Breakdown your annual goals and generate your daily to do's with those in mind.
  • Limit the list to concrete tasks. Put that business management rule to practice and make sure that your to-do's are 
Specific - Instead of stating 'Revamp blog design' state 'Contact XXX about blog design packages'.
Achievable & Realistic - Be honest with yourself. You are not going to write 5 reviews, 3 discussions and comment on 20 blogs each day. List only as many as realistically possible-For me this is 3 important items each day.
  • Assign a priority to each task. 
  • Assign a deadline for each task and give each task an expiry date. If the item is not crossed of at this point, do it immediately or put it off for a specific date or delete it.
  • Group tasks based on where it will be performed/type of tasks - This will prevent you from jumping back and forth between tasks and will increase productivity.
  • Cross of the ones that are done and do a little victory dance.


list making tools The Art Of List Making Discussion

There are hundreds of list making tools out there. Literally. I've listed a couple of tools that I've tried-

  • Pen and paper - Nothing beats a good old pen and notebook for me. 
  • Any.Do - This clean and beautiful app is minimalist's dream come true.
  • Wunderlist - Hannah at So Obsessed explains it best.
  • One Note - A digital notebook that seems to have pretty much everything.

list making tools The Art Of List Making Discussion

  • EverNote - I have yet to try this one but I've heard soooo many good things!
  • Google Keep - Adore the post-it notes like look of this app.
  • Paid options: Todoist, Remember the milk, Carrot and OmniFocus.


Are you list making addict? What tips do you have for effective list making?
What do you use to make your lists?


  1. Great post Nuz. I'm a huge believer in the importance of lists and my very simple way of doing it is by using the reminders app on my phone. I have different lists in there and it just keeps me on top of things I need to stay on top of. And nothing beats ticking them off as completed!

    1. It's the best feeling, isn't it? Thanks for reading, Trish! :)

  2. I'm also a list-maker. I've tried several apps, but I've found out that writing it down and crossing it off works the best for me. I like to have something physical. I only use Evernote for blogging stuff, since that takes place on my computer anyway. I always make a dot with something unspecific like 'school' or 'internship' and then I make little arrows below with all the specific things I have to do. That way I can easily spot what I have to do for what aspect in my life :)

    1. Oooh that's a great tip, Mel! Putting to-dos under different categories really does simplify the whole thing.

  3. I love lists as well and would consider myself a list maker. I often like to include lists in my blog posts and outside that I also make a lot of lists. I usually make my lists with paper or pen or in my blog posts. I agree that setting realistic goals is very important when making lists. Great post!

  4. I'm a list maker, especially for my dayjob. I like to cross off the tasks that get done. I usually just keep a long running todo list and add to it everyday.

  5. I'm obsessed with making lists as well. I've tried a few apps over the past few days but I think I like Keep the best. It has a really nice interface and just works really well for me because I can organize everything and still see them all at a glance. I used to use Any.Do but I didn't like the fact I couldn't have different files and see them all at once. Wunderlist was another experiment but there were so many add ons that I didn't need so now I'm with Keep and it's honestly changed my life. I'm so organized!!

  6. I love lists!I make them for everything.But I create them manually,apps don't work for me.There's nothing more perfect than a good old notebook and gel pen for me to make lists.
    Great post,Nuz!

  7. I didn't even know of the apps, I'll have to check them out. I use pen and paper and it works for me! I make one list where I list everything I know I need to do (mainly just work/online stuff) and then I make a second list for things I need to right away. That way I keep it manage-able and don't get overwhelmed. I definitely depend on lists to keep organized though!

  8. THIS POST IS BASICALLY ME. I love list making and have done for ages. I've always written everything in lists. It just encourages me to do the things on the list rather than have the information in my head. I use Evernote and OneNote. I'm deciding which one I like more though. I love how OneNote is colour coded.

  9. I love lists and I make them all the time. Mostly because I have horrible memory and I tend to forget things if I don't write them down :o) but it really provides a nice overview and it keeps me busy!

  10. There is something about making lists that is really cathartic. I'm kind of old school with my list making though and use journals to write everything down. I may try some of the apps you listed though, some of them look cool.

  11. Okay, so is there an organisation called List Addicts Anonymous? Because if not: you and I should totally co-found it. ;) I'm such a list junkie - I use them for pretty much every single aspect of my life, and I never go anywhere without my trusty notebook. Personally, I love the pen-and-paper method - mostly because there's nothing more satisfying than physically crossing something off your list - but I also use Wunderlist for long-term to-dos. The combination of traditional + modern technology works so well for me. :D Great post! x

  12. *raises hand* I am totally a list making addict. I LOVE LISTS. I'm always making lists on my blog and my wall is full of sticky-notes of lists. Usually they're of books or thoughts or ideas, not actually things I need to do. But I still adore them and I'd like to look up some of those apps you listed too! LISTS FTW.

  13. I love making lists! Although I actually feel like I'm not making enough lists. Is that even possible? I love Google Keep and if you click on the app, it's filled with a billion lists!

  14. I've just starting doing this as a way to clear my mind each night before bed. I take 20 minutes list the good things that happened in the day and the bad things. Then I generate a to do list for the next day. It seems to be helping me leave work stuff at work and not carry it around and wake up in the middle of the night worrying.

    Terri M., the Director
    Second Run Reviews


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