Top Lists to Make Your Life Better

“Lists are a form of power” – A. S. Byatt

I have a confession. I’m a list maker. In fact, I might even be a serial list maker, if that’s a thing. I have lists for daily activities, lists for appointments, lists for things I plan to do in the future, and lists for my lists. I realize this may be a little extreme for many people (do they MAKE a 12-step program?) but having some organization in your life is also not a bad thing. Here’s a list of the BEST lists to make to keep yourself organized and productive. 

1. Household Chore List

If things tend to pile up in your house, then creating a list of tasks prevents this from happening (or at least happening as frequently). For me, doing just a little bit each day means I don’t have to spend a few hours on the weekend playing catchup. If you have a large home, then try the “zone” technique. Each area of the house is a zone, and you only focus a small amount of time on that one zone. Set a timer, put on a great audiobook or music, and before you know it, 30 minutes or less has blown past. 

2. !0 Minute Task List

Think about all of the things you need or want to get done. Select those that should only take around 10 minutes or less. When you get an unexpected chunk of time, drop one of these bad boys into that time slot. Believe me, these little 10-minute wonders add up when you are able to do about 3-4 of them a week. 

3. Travel Packing List

This is an essential list in my house because we are always on the go. Having a set list means a lot of the planning is already done, and all you have to do is put them in your suitcase. I also find it very helpful to have duplicates of my makeup and travel-sized items so that I can just leave them to live large in my suitcase. That way, they are already packed and waiting for our next adventure. Good travel lists could include a capsule wardrobe selection for the various seasons. Destination-specific lists with items and wardrobe are also wonderful. When I was first building my travel item lists, I took advantage of the return travel time to reflect on what items and wardrobe worked for me and what did not, and what I wished I’d packed but had forgotten. It’s a brilliant way to create a list that works for you and your family each time, no matter where you go. 

4. Kitchen List of Goodness

I don’t know about you, but it annoys me when we waste food. We don’t do it on purpose, but often after a meal is made, there are leftovers…which we promptly forget about until it becomes a science experiment gone horribly wrong. So, on the outside of our ‘fridge, we have a leftovers list, and down below that, there is a space for grocery items we want or need to replace. Same goes for the freezer…where things go in and often never come out. You can expand this kitchen list to include pantry items as well. 

5. Birthdays and Gift Lists

Remembering someone’s birthday is a great way to remind them how much they mean to you. Create a list on your computer or enter their birthdays onto your phone’s calendar. Then, set a reminder a week ahead, so you have time to order the perfect gift, or send them off a beautiful card. If your loved ones live farther away from you and you’d have to mail a gift, choose something that will ship well and arrive intact, like an elegant candle, diffuser, or a personal product like creamy body butter or lotion

6. Personal Goal List

I do not make New Year’s resolutions. However, I do focus on personal improvement at the beginning of each year….and I make a list. For example, it can be something small such as practicing better posture when I’m working at the computer. Or increase my yoga practice. This year I added to my list life skills that I wanted to make sure my children knew. I find this particular type of list also helps me with the planning of the other lists because it puts things into perspective and makes decision-making easier when you allocate your time and energy to something that matters. 

7. Gratitude List

I made doing this a priority many years ago, and it is an incredible tool for keeping me grounded, happy, and moving forward. Each year I read back through my gratitude list in a journal I keep specifically for this purpose. It’s often hilarious the things I wrote down in the past for which I was thankful. Because some days, all you can be thankful for was that someone remembered to put the toilet lid down. Or that the flowers you planted finally bloomed. 

Even if you implement only ONE of these lists above, I know you are going to find it brings a certain amount of satisfaction, as well as time, back into your life. And in the end, having more time to spend with family, friends, and personal pursuits is what makes life joyful. 

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