Monday, 29 September 2014

Lists are the tools of the successful. It's official!

Lists are the tools of the successful.   It's official!

Richard Branson who has just announced he is giving unlimited holiday to his staff, cites making lists as one of his top 10 tips .  The unlimited holiday is an interesting one and one we may well explore further another time. 

But for now, back to lists...

Branson in fact lists lists as number 6 on his list!

If you have read my profile in the Meet the Team section of this blog you will know I'm a list fan; straight forward lists, spider diagrams, circular lists, lists with columns, fancy lists

Maybe I got the list vibe from my mum.  I remember as a child before we packed to go on our summer camping holiday, Mum getting the  "summer hols list" out. It was hand written on squared paper with tick columns for each year, I guess the reasoning being that some items would always be needed. The list had grown organically with some extra additions scribbled on the bottom and other bits crossed off.  There were even some taped on overlays, although can't remember why.  All in all it was quite a comprehensive list and served us well to ensure we had everything we intended to take and needed.

When I first met my husband, he'd laugh and role his eyes when I would announce "stop, we need a list" and get out a pen. With time he started to get on board with the whole list-mania, possibly just for a quiet easy life...but between you and me, I think he's a list convert now.

OK so here's my Top 6 Benefits of List Writing

1. Lists Keep You Focused

Writing down a list of actions to be done in order to complete a task can help provide a systematic logical approach to our actions.  Helping to keep our eye on the ball, our focus on the end goal and avoid the danger of us getting side tracked. 

2. Lists Help Create Headspace

"I have so much to do I don't know where to start!"  Sound familiar?  Writing a list of the things taking up the space in our heads often helps take the pressure off us as we don't have to try and remember everything  any more.  Call it a de-cluttering of our mind if you please.

3. Lists Relieve Stress and Anxiety

Ticking off, highlighting, scribbling through, crossing out work as we complete it feels great and proves to ourselves that we're getting things done and moving forwards.  We can look back and see how much we've done and see that we're being productive giving us a real sense of achievement and in turn most likely increasing our self esteem. We can do it!

4. Lists Commits It To Memory

Many people believe that the act of writing it down or typing it helps us to remember it.  Therefore we may be able to make progress even when the list isn't in front of us.

5. Lists Organise Our Thoughts

I think this one particularly rings true if we have a tough or tricky decision to make or task to start.  We have thoughts running around our heads making very little sense but by starting to formulate these thoughts into words to be written down, our list becomes a step by step guide of bite size chunks to getting the job done or a pros and cons list for those tricky decisions.

6. Lists Make It Real

The physical act of writing something down brings it out of our head and moves it on from being a thought into something real and tangible.  We can no longer push it to the back of our mind and try and ignore it.  Now it is real and out there it is demanding our real action and real action means moving us closer to our goal.

So there you have it, my top 6. I'm quite old fashioned in that will always reach for pen and paper when making a list and then cross items off, generally with two strikes through...not sure why...but it certainly feels very if I'm saying "yes it's definitely done".  Others of you  may favour typing your lists, maybe on a smart phone or tablet or using one of the many scheduling, reminder apps available.  The thing is to find what works for you.

And just in case you're wondering, yes I did write a list of things I wanted to include in this post before writing it...and yes I've struck them all off!

So how do you do it?  What works for you in the world of list writing?


  1. Great "lists" blog - that's me to a "T", although sometimes I think my lists can cause stress, because once I've written things down, I feel as if I have to do them - maybe the next subject could be "managing your lists" and being realistic!

  2. Thanks for your comment Karen, that's a very good point.
    It's one thing getting everything out of your head and and onto paper so you don't have the pressure of trying to remember it all but quite another thing when you're then faced with one almighty and rather overwhelming list of to dos. I think a "managing your lists" type post is a good idea.


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