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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

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 December 10, 2019

    How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life

    How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life

    It is hardly a secret that the key to successfully accomplishing one goal after another is staying motivated. There are, of course, tasks which successful people may not like at all, yet they find motivation to complete them because they recognize how each particular task serves a greater goal.

    So how to stay motivated most of the time? Here are 5 simple yet effective ways on how to stay motivated and get what you want:

    1. Find Your Good Reasons

    Anything you do, no matter how simple, has a number of good reasons behind it.

    You may not be able to find good reasons to do some tasks at first but, if you take just a few moments to analyze them, you will easily spot something good. We also have many tasks which don’t need any reasoning at all – we’ve been doing them for so long that they feel natural.

    If you’re ever stuck with some tasks you hate and there seems to be no motivation to complete it whatsoever, here’s what you need to do: find your good reasons.

    Even when you set goals, there needs to be reasons behind these goals. They may not be obvious, but stay at it until you see some, as this will bring your motivation back and will help you finish the task.

    Some ideas for what a good reason can be:

    • A material reward – quite often, you will get paid for doing something you normally don’t like doing at all.
    • Personal gain – you will learn something new or will perhaps improve yourself in a certain way.
    • A feeling of accomplishment – at least you’ll be able to walk away feeling great about finding the motivation and courage to complete such a tedious task.
    • A step closer to your bigger goal – even the biggest accomplishments in history have started small and relied on simple and far less pleasant tasks than you might be working on. Every task you complete brings you closer to the ultimate goal, and acknowledging this always feels good.

    2. Make It Fun

    When it comes to motivation, attitude is everything. Different people may have completely opposite feelings towards the same task: some will hate it, others will love it.

    Why do you think this happens? It’s simple: some of us find ways to make any task interesting and fun to do!

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    Take sports for example. Visiting your local gym daily for a half-an-hour workout session sounds rather boring to some. Yet many others love the idea!

    They like exercising not only because they recognize the good reasons behind it, but simply because it’s fun! At certain time of their daily schedule, they find going to gym to be the best thing to do, simply because nothing else will fit their time and lifestyle so perfectly.

    Depending on how you look at it, you can have fun doing just about anything! Just look for ways of having fun, and you’ll find them!

    A simple approach is to start working on any task by asking yourself a few questions:

    • How can I enjoy this task?
    • What can I do to make this task fun for myself and possibly for others?
    • How can I make this work the best part of my day?

    As long as you learn to have the definite expectation of any task being potentially enjoyable, you will start to feel motivated.

    Some of you will probably think of a thing or two which are valid exceptions from this statement, like something you always hate doing no matter how hard you try making it fun. You’re probably right, and that’s why I don’t claim everything to be fun.

    However, most tasks have a great potential of being enjoyable, and so looking for ways to have fun while working is definitely a good habit to acquire.

    3. Change Your Approach And Don’t Give Up

    When something doesn’t feel right, it’s always a good time to take a moment and look for a different approach for the task.

    You may be doing everything correctly and most efficiently, but such approach isn’t necessarily the most motivating one. Quite often, you can find a number of obvious tweaks to your current approach which will both change your experience and open up new possibilities.

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    That’s why saying “one way or another” is so common — if you really want to accomplish your goal, there is always a way; and most likely, there’s more than one way.

    If a certain approach doesn’t work for you, find another one, and keep trying until you find the one which will both keep you motivated and get you the desired results.

    Some people think that trying a different approach means giving up. They take pride in being really stubborn and refusing to try any other options on their way towards the goal.

    My opinion on this is that the power of focus is great, but you should be focusing on your goal, and not limiting your options by focusing on just one way to accomplish it it.

    4. Recognize Your Progress

    Everything you may be working on can be easily split into smaller parts and stages. For most goals, it is quite natural to split the process of accomplishing them into smaller tasks and milestones. There are a few reasons behind doing this, and one of them is tracking your progress.

    We track our progress automatically with most activities. But to stay motivated, you need to recognize your progress, not merely track it.

    Here’s how tracking and recognizing your progress is different:

    Tracking is merely taking a note of having reached a certain stage in your process. Recognizing is taking time to look at a bigger picture and realize where exactly you are, and how much more you have left to do.

    For example, if you’re going to read a book, always start by going through the contents table. Getting familiar with chapter titles and memorizing their total number will make it easier for you to recognize your progress as you read. Confirming how many pages your book has before starting it is also a good idea.

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    You see, reading any book you will be automatically looking at page numbers and chapter titles, but without knowing the total number of pages, this information will have little meaning.

    Somehow, it is human nature to always want things to happen in short term or even at once. Even though we split complex tasks into simpler actions, we don’t quite feel the satisfaction until all is done and the task is fully complete.

    For many scenarios though, the task is so vast that such approach will drain all the motivation out of you long before you have a chance to reach your goal. That’s why it is important to always take small steps and recognize the positive different and progress made. This is how your motivation can sustain in long term.

    5. Reward Yourself

    This is a trick everyone likes: rewarding yourself is always pleasant. This is also one of the easiest and at the same time most powerful ways to stay motivated!

    Feeling down about doing something? Dread the idea of working on some task? Hate the whole idea of working? You’re not alone.

    Right from the beginning, agree on some deliverables which will justify yourself getting rewarded. As soon as you get one of the agreed results, take time to reward yourself in some way.

    For some tasks, just taking a break and relaxing for a few minutes will do.

    For others, you may want to get a fresh cup of coffee and even treat yourself a dessert.

    For even bigger and more demanding tasks, reward yourself by doing something even more enjoyable, like going to a cinema or taking a trip to some place nice, or even buying yourself something.

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    Your progress may not seem to others like anything worth celebrating but, take time and do it anyway! It is your task and your reward, so any ways to stay motivated are good.

    The more you reward yourself for the honestly made progress, the more motivated you will feel about reaching new milestones, thus finally accomplishing your goal.

    Mix and Match

    Now that you have these five ways of staying motivated, it is a good moment to give you the key to them all: mix and match!

    Pick one of the techniques and apply it to your situation. If it doesn’t work, or if you simply want to get more motivated, try another technique right way. Mix different approaches and match them to your task for the best results.

    Just think about it: Finding good reasons to work on your task is bound to helping you feel better; and identifying ways to make it fun will help you enjoy the task even more.

    Or, if you plan a few points for easier tracking of your progress and on top of that, agree on rewarding yourself as you go; this will make you feel most motivated about anything you have to work through.

    More to Boost Your Motivation

    Featured photo credit: Lucas Lenzi via unsplash.com

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