Being organized starts with a plan and I have a whole list of ideas to help you along the way. I love my lists. They are the number one most important part of organization. You will be able to organize your stuff, your schedule and your entire life. Here are some tips for lists to make.
Lists ideas are important because they get everything out of your mind and down on paper. There are 3 important parts of a list that helps you declutter, organize and simplify your life.
1.) Make the list
2.) Cross things off as you go
3.) Complete the list
Making the List
If I have a really busy day ahead, I will lay in bed all morning and think of all the things I have to manage to get done and how I will tackle everything. This can cause stress. This can cause you to want to pull the covers back over your head and go right back to sleep. When that happens to me, I pop up out of bed and WRITE IT DOWN. I make a list for the day, everything I have to do and what order I will do it in. Once I do that, it is truly amazing how suddenly everything that just seemed extremely stressful 5 minutes ago is somehow simple.
I am so lucky that my beautiful daughter Sydney is getting married this August. Her husband to be a perfect fit for her and they are getting married at the coolest venue in Minnesota.
I have had so much fun helping her create her dream day. Although there was a time when it caused us both a lot of stress and was not fun at all and we were bride-zilla and mom-zilla. But once we got everything down on a list and divided tasks accordingly suddenly the process was fun again.
Somehow getting your thoughts down on paper to look at makes it so much more manageable. Your list is always step 1 to any task. And “well begun is half done”!
Get it out of your brain and onto the paper. It works every time.
Cross things off your list as you complete that task
So there was the relief and stress reliever of making your list, right? Just creating your lists help simplify your life, declutter your brain and organize your thoughts.
The next benefit of lists is crossing things off one by one. I find great joy in this. No, really. GREAT joy. I love the act of Crossing. It. Off. And literally it’s sometimes scribbles. Curly-q’s to cross it off. Sometimes I sharpie it off if I really mean business. Point is: when it’s done, it’s done.
My best friend in college was a compulsive list maker. Beyond that, her lists were beautiful. She drew lots of flowery pretty things, big curly handwriting and hearts everywhere. Her lists truly depicted her personality; lovely and bubby and happy. And boy when she was done with her list you’d have had no idea what was on it. Because she meant serious business when she crossed something off her list.
About 10 years after college, I visited her at her home. We had lost touch but I was in town so I went to see her. About 15 years had passed, but she was that same bubbly and happy girl I always loved. After dinner we went back to her house and met her family. I sat down at the counter and there in front of me was her list for the day. Completely scribbled out and exactly what I remembered. She hadn’t changed a bit. There was so much new technology out and apps and computers, but she stuck true to what she knew and loved in her list making process; writing it down on paper and crossing it off. And I don’t think she will ever change, nor should she.
You have to find what works for you as far as making your lists. Keep in mind technology isn’t for everyone. I sometimes find that using technology takes more time and effort. If I want to jot something down quickly I don’t necessarily want to open my laptop and click 10 buttons to get to my list. In that case I grab my list pad from my junk drawer and write it down. But other times I need to make it look nicer if it’s a list that maybe needs to stand the test of time (like for the wedding). Do what works for each situation and makes you happy and organized and simple.
But please, cross it off. You will feel so accomplished and happy knowing a task is complete. You were productive that day, plus being productive makes you feel proud of yourself. There are so many benefits to this part of the list. Good for you!
Completing the list ~ a reflection
You’ve made your list, you’ve crossed everything off your list. Last thing to do is complete it. What’s left to complete right? My list is done. Not quite. Part of completing your list is reflecting on it. What I do every time I complete a list is take 30 seconds to reflect. I start by remembering why I made the list in the first place, and the stress I may have felt before the list. I think through all the things I accomplished in crossing off the list and how productive I was.
This step makes me happy because I know I was productive and organized. Now I maybe don’t do that for every list (like grocery lists), but I do for most. So take the time to feel proud of yourself and all you’ve done today. Then crumple the list up and toss it in the trash! Please….do not save your lists and file them when complete. Do not label a file folder “completed lists”. UGH….have I taught you nothing!
Just let it go and be done with it. Move on to your next list, whatever that may be and whenever the urge to list it strikes.
List ideas to help declutter, organize and simplify your life
There are so many different ways to “list your life”. There are apps for that, there are paper lists and there are lists you can create on your personal computer.
Use your phone
On my iPhone I use free apps all the time. This is so nice when I am on the go and need to jot things down. My Notes and Reminder apps are some of my most used apps on my phone. When the list is complete, I hit “delete” and that is the same process as crossing off your list.
Then there are list pads
A list pad is an actual pad of paper designated for list making. I find this to be the quickest and most efficient way to make lists and I use this method daily for many tasks. There is a specific method to writing a list so you feel more organized about your tasks. For every list first I set a goal, set a timeline, and finally write the list. Here are examples of how I use it:
Here’s an example for my groceries:
Goal: Grocery Shop
Timeline: Today at 4pm
List it: milk, eggs, cheese, bread, apples, bananas, lettuce, carrots
Here’s another example to drop a few pounds:
Goal: Lose 5 lbs
Timeline: By next Friday
List it: Run 5 miles a day, Eat veggies, fruit and protein, drink lots of tea and water, son’t eat after 7pm
I like my list pad size to be pretty slender, meaning it’s not a full sheet of paper. A lot of time I need to rip the list off and carry it in my purse or tape it inside my cabinet. If it’s huge then it won’t fit in those areas. And target guests think I’m super weird when I pull out a three page typed color coded list of groceries I need. I’m not freaky I swear.
I also love finding lists whenever I am out shopping. Target Dollar sections always have cute lists, and the Container Store and Paper Source. I just cannot resist a good list and I change it up so don’t make yourself stick to one way of list making either. Remember though always follow the same process of setting a goal, timeline and then a list.
Typed lists to make are helpful in many ways:
When I need a list that I will keep for some time, or that needs to be extra organized I use my computer. I like Pages and Excel and Word. You can be so creative and make your lists beautiful. If it’s gong to hang in my cabinet for more than a week or two, I create a document list and print it, or keep it on my desktop for a quick glance. Speaking of desktop, you do need to find everything on there with quick glance. I teach you how to organize your desktop in organizing work.
For some things I use my app, when I am home I use my list pads, and other times I use my computer and make a document. It all depends how detailed it needs to be and honestly where I am at the time and what type of list it is. Sometimes I get truly sick of technology and having to pull my phone out to write everything down on an app (only to realize it’s not fully charges and now I have to get out the charger…..).
For the holidays I like to snuggle up on the couch with a cup of cocoa (yes, with Bailey’s) and write out my holiday gift-giving list on a list pad. For the wedding, I used a word doc, xcel spreadsheets and Pages to make fun and fancy lists. My daughter Sophia just found this great recipe maker that allows you to cross off the ingredients as you use them. Genius!
These lists to make and list ideas will get you started on your first step to being organized and stress free!