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

9 Reasons Why You Should Use Lists and What You Can Use Lists For
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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 July 21, 2021

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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    No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

    Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

    Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

    A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

    Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

    In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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    From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

    A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

    For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

    This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

    The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

    That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

    Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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    The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

    Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

    But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

    The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

    The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

    A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

    For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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    But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

    If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

    For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

    These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

    For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

    How to Make a Reminder Works for You

    Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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    Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

    Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

    My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

    Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

    I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

    More on Building Habits

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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    Reference

    [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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