In my opinion, lists deserve more attention – especially when thinking beyond the productivity space.
Most of us think of a list as a tool we can use to tabulate and keep track of things we need to do or buy. They can be so much more that that.
If you are list averse, here are a few ideas of things you can do with lists that can be even more useful, a set of strategies for using lists in a way that is holistic and can be supportive of what is important to you:
Make a list of your personal core values
Your personal core values are principles you hold near and dear to you. This is what is important to you at a deep level.
When your day to day life aligns with your values it can bring you that feeling of serenity – that feeling that all is right with how you’re spending your time.
While we all know what’s important to us at a deeper level, writing it all out and having the words in front of us on a on a daily basis can be very grounding.
Make a list of your own top priorities
From a holistic perspective, our priority lists need to come before we pull out a planner of any sort to plan out our days.
If you’re used to organizing your time based on a response to what you have coming up, creating a priority list and keeping it in front of you as you decide on how to spend your time can make all the difference between having an intentional and fully present day or a distracted and truly stressful day.
A priority list can also help with providing you with a strong reason for saying no to what isn’t a priority in your life at the moment.
When setting goals, think of how align them with your priorities and allocate your time to strengthen what you need more of in your life.
Make a “today’s morning mindset” list every morning when you wake up
How do you want to walk into each day? With confidence, with patience, with compassion, with humor, with inner strength, with calm – what are the top 3 things you’d like to tap into within yourself as you start each day?
This may sound funny at first but if you give it a chance and take a moment to do it, you may just start to feel like you’re bringing what you’d like to have happen into your day.
If you’re having a particularly stressful week, your morning mindset list can have patience, humor and inner strength for the qualities you want to draw into your day.
If you’re about to start a vacation, your morning mindset list can have joy, fun and an openness to trying new things for the qualities you want to draw into that particular time.
Deciding on a morning mindset can support you and give you positive momentum as you start your day. It can give you a way of being intentional about how you go about your day.
Make a “things to be assertive about” list
If you feel that you need to stand up for yourself more and have your voice heard when it comes to certain things, why not make a list of where and how you want to be more vocal and visible so you can remind yourself to do that on a daily basis?
There are so many things that can sit in the back of our minds – all the “shoulds” – the “I should have spoken up about that” or “I definitely need to talk to them about this” or “I have to let them know the next time”.
Give a voice to these internal nudges. Create a list of actionable items you can check off each time you speak up about something that is important to you, that perhaps you’ve been holding off on expressing clearly and effectively.
Make a “things in my control” and a “things not in my control” 2 column list
I think this is a good one to do in two columns on a single page. It can be helpful to remind yourself in concrete terms of what the serenity prayer reminds us of so eloquently – “courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference“.
Start with making one column of actionable items that you can work on that will have a significant impact on your high priority goals. Make another column with a list of everything you stress out about but isn’t in your control.
Refer back to this every time you feel overwhelmed or anxious about things not in your control – choose to focus on your “things in my control” list instead.
Keep chipping away at all the things where you can have an impact. In the process of doing that, you might surprise yourself and come up with ideas for having a positive impact on what currently doesn’t seem to be in your control.
According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, the word momentum can be defined as “strength or force gained by motion or by a series of events”. If we keep taking positive action, we can build the momentum for even more positivity within and without in our lives.
Keep a running list of your favorite recipes as you make them
When everything else seems like a bit too much a list of favorite desserts, comfort foods, easy meals, soups or anything you enjoy cooking can be fun to create and have on hand.
Make sure you’re adding in all the little details about all the substitutes made and the things that worked and didn’t so you can remind yourself at a later date. If you feel like it, add in notes on who enjoyed that particular meal with you and what you talked about.
Gazing at that list of favorites and notes at a future time will spark positive memories of the last time you made that particular recipe and give you a way to bring back that joy into a future moment in time.
Are you a list person? What are some of your favorite types of lists that you enjoy making and are the most useful for you?