It’s natural to jot things down one after the other, but are you getting full value out of your lists? Why should you use lists and are there more things you can use lists for?
1. Lists are a great way to organise your information.
If you don’t organize your information, it can be scattered everywhere even a regular pin-board can look messy, but if you separate it out into different topics or categories it’s a lot less messier. Moving house? Organize what items will go into what room using a list for each room. Planning a wedding? Lists are great for arranging people into different tables.
2. Lists provide a simple structure.
There’s no deep thinking needed to understand how a list works. Show a Venn diagram to someone, or even a line chart and you still have to explain what the horizontal and vertical axis mean, but a list? No explanation needed, only the topic of the list is needed and it’s easy to understand.
3. Lists are easy to read and write.
Writing a list? It’s simple, straight down the page one line after the next. There’s no need for complex sentences, or paragraphs and when you give it to someone to read, they can skim straight down. It’s usually easier to identify important points from a list, when compared to chunks of text.
4. Prioritize your day.
Busy day ahead? Create a list of all the things that need to be done and then order them in priority and tackle them all. You can break up the list into separate days if there is too much to do in one day. Insert breaks into your list to schedule some ‘reward’ time or put in some simpler items in between large complex tasks to break up the day. It helps you to make sure that you achieve what you plan to achieve, and can help prevent you from procrastinating.
5. Helps you to arrange things in order.
Top ten lists, priority lists, task lists, to-do lists. Simply putting a number in front of each list item helps you to arrange your list into an order that is meaningful. Once you have something in list order, numbering becomes easier. Then if you have to write things out again, you do it based on the numbers you created.
6. Make lists about anything.
That’s right, anything. Think about all the blog posts that you have read that are lists. All the charts that you have followed. Work in a company? They use lists too, whether it is task management lists, to-do lists. Whenever you’re brainstorming what gets written down? Ideas in a list format. Shopping lists, reading lists… heck, everything and anything has been made into lists. Lot’s of services already arrange things into lists for you, such as Twitter friends list, Facebook friends list, in fact the newsfeeds that you get from Facebook and Twitter are in a …. List format.
7. Lists are easy to share.
Whether you’ve created it in a computer, mobile app, even on paper, it’s easy to share a list. In fact they are engaging and easy to consume. That makes it something that people want to share. Whether it’s a list to watch videos or a list of date ideas, when you come across an intriguing list, you feel compelled to share it because you know that your friends are likely to read it too. Even if it’s not for entertainment, to-do and task lists can be shared to pool resources and get things done. “Here is a list of things we need to accomplish today, who wants to take on which tasks?”
8. Lists can be about fun things too.
It’s not all about tasks, to-dos or get things done. It can be about entertainment. Movies to watch lists, playlists, funny jokes lists, top 10 lists. Some of the things I use lists for include a TV shows watch list. New seasons of many shows are about to start, so my list contains the show, channel and day the next broadcast is.
9. Lists can be a good way to collect and bookmark information.
Lists can also be used to keep track of all the useful weblinks and articles that you want to read, organized into different categories that can range from news stories, recipes, designs any topic that you can possibly be interested in.
Problems with creating Lists
So there are all these reasons and things to create lists for, but what tools are there? The main problem is if you are using paper then reorganizing your list is problematic. Most tools and apps out there are too focused on tasks and to-do lists, or are purposely only for bookmarking websites. There just isn’t something out there that helps you to organize your plans, thoughts and ideas.
We’re pretty sure that this is something that will be useful for us personally and for Lifehack readers and we want to make sure that we get it right, so here’s where you can help us. We’re still developing it right now, so it’s a great time to chime in your ideas, you can do this by signing up to the beta version from this page, we’ll contact you back so you can let us know how we can make this into something you’ll love to use.
Featured photo credit: Image of female hand with pen via Shutterstock