List-Making Magic

Rachel Parsley
Friday, August 25, 2017

If it’s not on a list, it doesn’t exist. At least not in my opinion.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve made a list out of almost everything; for simple things, like groceries and errands and, of course, “to-do” items at work and for chores around the house. I’ve made lists of items to pack for travel, lists of songs I like, lists of things I want to accomplish, lists of places I want to check out, lists of recipes to try, and even lists of names while I was expecting my daughter.

To the chagrin of myself and I’m sure others, I’ve even made lists about lists. I organize my lists into categories, with headings and columns, and, in the case of the grocery store, I make my list in order of the aisles, for efficient shopping. I make so many lists, even my four-year-old has gotten in on the game (see picture!)

I am well aware that my list-making is a bit excessive, and at times, frankly, a bit obsessive. I also realize that not everyone relies on lists like I do. Honestly, I’m a bit envious of those who can organize their lives, tasks, and thoughts in their heads alone.

These days, it’s tough to find enough time in the day to get simple tasks done, while simultaneously juggling work, family, friends, pets, our health, activities, etc., and still find time for ourselves. This kind of hectic lifestyle, which, unfortunately, most of us lead, can lead to stress, becoming overwhelmed, and, finally, exhaustion.

List-making is one way I’ve found to cope with the demands of everyday life. If I can write items and tasks down, plan it out in an organized fashion, see it in front of me in black-and-white, and check items off (the most satisfying part of it all – fellow list makers, are you with me?), I simply feel more calm, productive and accomplished.

Lists can be used in a number of ways; they can be used to to keep track of tasks, ideas, or thoughts. Lists don’t have to be organized in any particular way; they just have to make sense to you!  Lists can help you save time, get organized, set goals, improve productivity, save money, reduce stress, and simply just help you put thoughts down on paper.

In addition to creating efficiency in everyday life, lists can also help us reach our goals. According to a study at Dominican University of California, once you put pen to paper on a goal, you are 33% more likely to actually achieve it. Writing it down makes you motivated to accomplish the task, and it also makes you more accountable for it.

So, what’s the next item on my “to-do” list? Read Paula Rizzo’s book, Listful Thinking: Using Lists to be More Productive, Highly Successful and Less Stressed. Rizzo is an Emmy award-winning network TV producer, author, and productivity expert who blogs at