If you know me on a professional and personal level, you know that I am an avid “list-maker”, “list-enthusiast”, or whatever you want to call it. I HAVE to make lists for everything, it’s just the way I work and the way I function. When I was in undergraduate school, I went into school not knowing how to study, maintain organization, or even utilize a planner effectively. I remember being a scared teenager that had no idea how to navigate college.
Now, as I’ve gone through my years of lectures, scholarly articles, and office hours, I know that there are many benefits to “lists”. There are also many types of lists and ways to utilize them. Research has found lists to be useful for those experiencing mild cognitive deficits as well as those who may be feeling so overwhelmed/stress that they have trouble recalling information. Additionally, others use lists for organization, for creating goals, and keeping themselves accountable.
Personally, I use a grocery list (to ensure I don’t leave anything out when we go grocery shopping), I use a chore list (to make sure that we maintain a clean household), as well as a Monthly To-Do List (to keep myself accountable for monthly professional goals). Now this does not mean that your home has to be full of post-its everywhere, it just helps to center your world and allow to put thoughts into action.
When I worked with older adults as a psychotherapist, we also utilized lists to help minimize forgetfulness that sometimes comes with age. I also enjoy utilizing it with clients of other ages that are struggling with keeping there thoughts in one direction.
Last week, I ran a mommy support group and I asked the question, “What do you do to reduce daily stress in your life?” and although most of my group participants stared at one another trying to come up with something, one participant mentioned “I write my list before bed to prepare for the next day”. YES! This is exactly what lists are for. They help remove those thoughts we have repeating in our heads in order to assist with potentially getting a good nights sleep. They help to put goals on paper in order to increase the likelihood of getting things done.
Just yesterday, I had a conversation with my mom about how grocery lists help me save money on gas, allow me to reduce the amount of food waste, and save myself some time which ultimately makes me happier. Although sometimes people may not agree with your opinions (my mom thought it was hilarious- for lack of better terms- that I meal prep) she ultimately understood that reducing food waste and saving time and money are some of my priorities. Maybe one day, when she finds herself broke and in a time crunch, she’ll keep my lists in mind 😉
Anyway, two things to remember:
1. Don’t forget your grocery list at home when you go grocery shopping! Yup, it happened to me many times when I first started. If you’re a Forgetful Lucy like myself, it is bound to happen. But don’t give up, give it some time and it’ll become first nature over time… Just like remembering to take my reusable grocery bags to the groceries will eventually happen too! (Pat on the back if you’ve successfully accomplished this)
2. Just because your goal list has all these goals, it doesn’t mean that you have to be hard on yourself if you aren’t able to check it off just yet. The point of the list is to help you, not to give you another reason to be hard on yourself. Cut yourself some slack!