Santa is one smart dude. He knows to make a list. He even checks it twice. Marilyn, however, has it all wrong. Diamonds aren’t a girl’s best friend. Lists are! I cannot emphasize enough how lists not only help me get more done but help me stay calmer. Armed with a good list you will become more productive and efficient. The ball drops less often. You discover more time. You use said time for fun. Here are some tips on how to save your sanity with lists.
In short, armed with a good list you can change the world! Or, really, your world.
How to Save Your Sanity With Lists
You’re Human. Humans Need Lists.
In fact, humans need to make lists. Waaayyy back in 1927 a Russian psychiatrist, Bluma Ziegarnik, discovered that humans remember what needs to be done, rather than what has been finished. When you have an idea or a to-do list item, your brain creates a loop. When you finish your task or see your idea to fruition, the loop closes. But oh how the mind gets all upset with open loops. And with the busy nature of our world today we are all walking around with thousands of open loops in our heads, exhausting us.We are all walking around with thousands of open loops in our heads, exhausting us. Click To Tweet
What’s the solution? Make a list. Putting down information in lists will calm the open loops/chaos in your brain. (Another solution is to stop multi-tasking but that’s a blog for a different day.)
So, just grab a piece of paper and start scrabbling down your to do list, right? Oh no, there is so, so much more rambling around in your head.
30 List Ideas to Simplify Your Life
Here are 30 list ideas to get you started. Maybe only some of these apply to you. Maybe you have different lists. But if you sit still for a few moments you will realize there is a lot of noise in that head of yours. And it needs to be recorded somewhere else.
- grocery list
- shopping list
- gift list
- errand list
- birthday list
- bucket list
- daily to do’s
- weekly to do’s
- books to read
- Netflix shows to watch
- movies to see
- favorite songs to download
- decorating ideas
- DIY ideas
- New plants to try out
- Home improvement projects
- Clothing items to add to your wardrobe
- names of contractors (painter, plumber, electrician etc.)
- journal writing prompts
- gratitude list
- favorite quotes
- restaurants you want to try
- favorite charitable organizations
- places you want to visit
- names of items in a collection (so you don’t buy the same again)
- inventory of craft items you already have on hand
- blogs you want to check out
- subjects you want to learn more about
My Digital Darling: Evernote
I prefer to go paperless and digital in every way I can. About five years ago I was using the app Paperless Lite. This app let me brain dump my to do’s and wish lists with custom icons. It’s great!
But after starting my business, I realized I needed a more powerful way to keep track of the various areas of my life.We women have a lot on our plates because of our many roles. Your life may look like this too.
- Me, Daria
- Daria the wife
- Mommy Daria
- Daria the friend
- Daria the volunteer
- Then there’s Daria the business owner and professional organizer
- Daria the blogger
Lots of open loops for me!
Then I found Evernote and did a happy dance.
- It’s where I take notes
- It’s where I keep A BAJILLION lists
- I clip articles from the Internet and save them here
- Sometimes a photo sparks an idea-I save it here
- Sometimes an audio clip sparks an idea-I keep it here
- I use tags so I can find everything on “minimalism” no matter which list, photo, or audio clip it is in
- It works on my phone, iPad and computer
Evernote is really powerful. This app can help you save your sanity with lists. Entire blog posts and books have been written about it. (I’ve got “How to Use Evernote to Organize Your Day, Supercharge Your Life and Get More Done” on my Christmas list.) That’s not my purpose here. I’m here to tell you keeping all that information bouncing around in your brain in one place is life changing.Keeping all that information bouncing around in your brain in one place is life-changing Click To Tweet
Evernote works for me, but there are other popular list apps. Here are three of the most popular right now:
3 More Great Digital To Do List Apps
I hear about this app all the time. My fave feature is using hashtags to prioritize your list.
- Organize and share lists
- Assign to do’s
- Set reminders and due dates
- Works on and syncs with all your devices
- Forward e-mails that need to be turned into a to-do
- Add anything from the Internet to you to-do list
- Print your list
Check out Wunderlist.
The absolute coolest thing about this app, in my mind, is the location based reminders. Need to pick up a gift at the local boutique for Aunt Brenda? You’ll get a reminder when you are near the store.
- Create and share lists
- Works on 10 + platforms
- Real time syncronization
- Set reminders and due dates
- Set recurring to do’s
- Use the Karma feature to track your productivity over time
Check out ToDoIst
One nice feature about AnyDo is the today/tomorrow/later set up. You won’t get overwhelmed by your list since you’ll have your today list displayed.
- Create and share lists
- Synchs across your devices
- Customize for your own look
- Location based reminders
- The Assistant feature can help you with your to do list, buying flowers for mom, for instance
Check out Any.Do
For an in-dept review of the most popular to do list apps, check out this article by The Guardian.
For a wonderful post on productivity apps, including Timewarp and Toggl, check out 5 Apps That Keep You Productive by Cloudwards.
Cloudwards also has a great article on the Best Note-Taking Apps. Save the trees!
If you want to be more productive, more efficient, and calmer than ever before-make a list (or two or ten.) You really will save your sanity with lists.
I’ll wager you have an idea for a type of list I didn’t mention here. The creativity of my readers never ceases to amaze me. So, dear reader, what kinds of lists do you plan to make in 2017?
You may also be interested in my other articles about planning.
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My #1 Tool to Stop the Overwhelm!
- Learn what should be first on your to do list
- Identify what is keeping you from your goals
- Find time for the people and activities that nourish you
Are you ready to stop being overwhelmed? Are you ready to plan your priorities and find time for fun in less than an hour? Sure you are!