How list-making and organizing improve quality of life

September 15, 2015 § 4 Comments

I love lists and list-making. Because I’m thinking 5 thoughts at the same time, this means I need to write things down, otherwise I either forget what I was thinking or I tend to get overwhelmed.

Apart from daily to-do lists, I also write:

  •  Shopping lists – sufficet to say Elvin doesn’t go shopping without a shopping list :). This comes very handy!
  • Weekly menus – this is work in progress, but it does make my life easier
  • Scheduling my work out sessions – this is a new addition, and very much work in progress
  • Wardrobe planning – that’s right, I think about what I will wear a long time in advance. This way, if I need to organize a last minute trip I already have combinations of clothes and jewelry created and all I need to do is pick out those pre-defined items from my wardrobe. I can’t even begin to tell you how helpful this is!
  • Special occasion menus – if I know we will be entertaining guests, I think in advance about what I would like to cook. Naturally, I have a million ideas so thinking things through helps me make a selection
  • Lists for gifts – yes, you read that correctly, I think in advance about what a certain friend or family member might need or jot it down immediately if I hear them mentioning something. Because I hate shopping at the last minute, I try to do it in advance.

So, why is list-making helpful?

  1. Helps alleviate stress – what is down on paper is no longer messing with your mind. You also make sure you address any critical items and don’t miss any important appointments etc.
  2. Saves tons of time – we spend a minimal amount of time around supermarket aisles because we know exactly what we need to buy. In a similar vein, I have reduced the time I need to pack my suitcase to a minimum because I already know what I want to wear
  3. Predictability – if you know you have x, y, z items on your to-do list this helps compartmentalize your day
  4. Streamlining and simplifying – knowing the details of what you need to do eliminates the guesswork and the associated stress
  5. It creates space for fun – list-making and organizing is not a dry and boring activity. You can actually plan for fun – what special dish will you cook? When will you book a massage? What cute present will you buy for your mum?

How do I organize my lists?

Although I’m very much a pen and paper girl, a lot of my planning goes into my outlook calendar – simply because that is the calendar I use most during the day. I tag appointments or to do lists there and the added advantage is that I also get reminders throughout the day.

When I have random ideas about blog posts I want to write, dishes I want to cook etc. I just jot them down in a blank email and save them as drafts. This way, I can easily access them and make any edits at a later point.

What is your favourite way of organizing your thoughts, lists and to-dos?

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§ 4 Responses to How list-making and organizing improve quality of life

  • arakelian says:

    I am the list addicted too. In fact, without lists I am too tired: I need to take all the ideas from my head and to put on the paper. Then I need just to remember where is the paper.
    But the first advantage for me is the money: the budget is going up when I have no lists, sometimes is doubled; second is the time: with list I need once trip to supermarket every month, and weekly shopping to the local market, without …. 3-4 shopping sessions ???!?!?.
    I agree with all your 5 points too, but mine first 2 are these: money and time.

    And after I started to pay attention more carefully with my lists, I discovered how many items unused I have in my house, so I started the decluttering.

  • Sinziana says:

    Totally agree! I just created 3 new categories of lists for myself- a list for to do’s in my job, one for Christmas gifts, one for travel packing, one for things to buy long-term.
    Now I only need some sort of system to keep all these lists together – like a nice planner or something. While online calendars are really practical, I love pen and paper lists so much.
    And you’re right, list-making is a money and time saver, because it’s based on rational thinking ahead.

    • arakelian says:

      thanks tot the previous experiences with lists, next holiday will be minimalist: just a backbag, for …16 days. I will see if it is working 🙂

      • Sinziana says:

        Wow! Just HOW do you do it? I also try to travel as light as possible, but I wouldn’t be able to fit it all in a backpack, that’s for sure! Especially not when it comes to travelling in the winter, when everything is more voluminous. I hope you’ll write a post about that soon, I could certainly use the inspiration. 🙂

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