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9 Reasons Why You Should Use Lists and What You Can Use Lists For

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9 Reasons Why You Should Use Lists and What You Can Use Lists For

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Introducing Listible

Listible

    Many moons ago, we created Listible, it was quite a popular way to create lists and organize your thoughts, but unfortunately was killed by Spam. We’re re-inventing it and bringing it back to life. We want to make it easy to create any type of list you want. If you’re thinking about where to go on holiday, create a list of places you want to visit. If you want to create a list of images from the web, we’ll grab the images for you and list them out. Plan of action to arrange an event, create a lost?  A friend recommends a book to read? Add it to your book reading list.Want to reorganize the list? we’ll let you do that too. Finished something on your movies to watch list? We’ll let you archive it.

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    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.

    Sign Up For Listible

     

    Featured photo credit: Image of female hand with pen via Shutterstock

    More by this author

    Hoi Wan

    Hoi is a mobilist who blogs about technology trends and productivity.

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    Last Updated on October 21, 2021

    How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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    How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

    Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

    Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

    The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

    Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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    Program Your Own Algorithms

    Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

    Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

    By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

    How to Form a Ritual

    I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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    Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

    1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
    2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
    3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
    4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

    Ways to Use a Ritual

    Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

    1. Waking Up

    Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

    2. Web Usage

    How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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    3. Reading

    How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

    4. Friendliness

    Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

    5. Working

    One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

    6. Going to the gym

    If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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    7. Exercise

    Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

    8. Sleeping

    Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

    8. Weekly Reviews

    The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

    Final Thoughts

    We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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    More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

     

    Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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