Thursday, October 6, 2016

{31 Days} Lists as a Tool not a Barrier

I talked a bit yesterday about making lists, and I realized I could easily write an entire post on my love of list making.  I don’t remember why I started making lists so many years ago, but I did, and I am thankful for that practice now.

Lists can be used for good and for bad.  You wouldn’t think that of something as simple as a list, but it is the truth, and I will explain it to you today.


You see, for me, lists have always been a way for me to get information out of my head.  I constantly have ideas and tasks running through my head, as I’m sure most of you do, but I dwell on them, and ruminate over them constantly until I write them down.  Then, once I have written them down, I am able to move on.  Not always, but for the most part.  This can be a good thing, for example at night when I am trying to go to sleep.  But, it can also be a bad thing, because I will often write things down and then promptly forget about them…or even worse lose my list!

I said yesterday that I am much more ambitious when I write my to-do lists first thing in the morning.

This is where lists can be a bad thing.  If I am over-ambitious with my lists, I can easily feel defeated at the end of the day when I inevitably do not finish the list.  When I look at my list at the end of the day I want to be encouraged, not discouraged. 

Whereas when I write my list the night before, it is easy to make the list short because I am at the end of the day and I know what I accomplished.

Here is the kicker, I am able to add things to the list throughout the day, not in an “oh crap, I forgot I need to do this” kind of way, but in an “oh, I have more time” kind of way.

The lists end up being an encouragement and a planning tool, allowing me to see what I am able to accomplish in a day, and not defeating me instead.

Using to-do lists as a tool not a barrier

I am also not beyond adding tasks that I have already completed, so I have an accurate reflection of my day at the end of the day.

Often, when I am overwhelmed, I feel like I am accomplishing nothing during the day, discounting homeschooling the kids, making meals and snacks for everyone, and getting the laundry done.  If it is a particularly rough season, and this is all I get done in a day, I should be happy, instead of discouraged. 

I think a change of thinking is in order!  In overwhelming times, it definitely makes sense to celebrate the small things.


Are you a list maker?  Do you use lists as encouragement on what you are able to accomplish throughout the day?

31 comments:

  1. I LOVE making lists. Sometimes when I make my list I do write down things I already did and then cross it off. It makes me feel better lol.

    I try to think of my lists as a "running list" so I know I'm not going to get to everything in one day but I do try and make sure I get at least 3 priorities done. On a good day it's 5. On an amazing day its 7. Granted I'm not counting things I have to do every day like dishes and dinner.

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  2. OH my goodness, it's like I am reading about myself, except you have advice that I have never given myself. Ha ha. Seriously, I love lists! I always make my daily lists too long and then get discouraged, including today, no make that especially today. I love the idea of making the list at the end of the day. That makes sense.

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  3. I love lists, I always put way too many tasks but ticking them off makes me feel super accomplished. Its great to plan!

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  4. I don't know what I would do without my lists - it's totally how I get through everyday!

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  5. I'm not huge on lists... because they overwhelm me! Lol.

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  6. I am ALL about the lists. I need them, in fact. I also make little boxes next to the items on the list so I can check them off. Boom. Done. Accomplished.

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  7. I make lists and T charts to help keep me on track. I like to make them before bed and clear my mind. It helps so much!

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  8. I am a huge list maker--usually getting everything down on paper makes me feel better. I also LOVE the feeling I get when I cross something off my list....ahhhh!

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  9. I feel that I can't function anymore without lists! I will add in some tasks that I know are easy to acheive just to make myself feel better at times! LOL !

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  10. I'm a huge list maker. I keep a running list and then prioritize each day. I like to check off things from my running list and I love to show that I accomplished everything on my to-do list!

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  11. I'm a list maker, but then I look at the lists and get overwhelmed by what's on them, then I procrastinate. It's a vicious cycle. :-/ I'm looking forward to following this series though, I'm looking to learn some ways to overcome overwhelm.

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  12. Oh my gosh. I love lists. It's definitely important to use them to help you though. In the wrong way, they can certainly be overwhelming. Great post!

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  13. I also love to make lists. It helps me accomplish a lot of things. Making a super long list, though can get overwhelming.

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  14. I love lists because it keeps me on track. It's definitely something that I rely on everyday especially when there are many things to accomplish. I make sure I have a list of the tasks with everything the most important ones on top!

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  15. To do lists are so helpful. They really make my day so much easier.

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  16. Omg I'm list obsessed!!! I wouldn't be able to tackle my days without all of my list!

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  17. I make lists just to cross things off. I am at a point in my life that I cannot function without a list!

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  18. I love making lists, but lately I have been too busy to even make the lists! Ugh...time for a reset!

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  19. I am a HUGE list person. I feel lost without making a list every day. Especially because I just started a new part time job and now I'm juggling that and my blog. I only get stuff done if I write it all out.

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  20. I love making lists. I make them every day. I think they allow my day to be organized and less stressful and I make sure everything gets done!!!!

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  21. I don't always make lists, but there's a time that I really do need to make a list, and put the most priority what to do on the list. I like your quote though, "List as a tool instead of a barrier".

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  22. To do list was so important for me I don't know what I am doing If I don't have a list and it makes my life easier

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  23. Making lists is one of the best ways that I can keep my thoughts together. I also agree that you can overwhelm yourself if you get overly ambitious.

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  24. I absolutely love to make lists! Different colors also help me out. You have a great point about adding throughout the day instead of all at once.

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  25. I have always loved making lists, too! Making lists help me stay more organized and on track.

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  26. I am definitely a list maker. I make too many lists sometimes that I have them everywhere.

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  27. I've been using my iPhone calendar a lot these days. But when it comes to grocery shopping, I also text myself or type a note before venturing out.

    Suzanne | MaQ + Suz
    www.suzannespiegoski.com

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  28. YES!!!!!!! I love having a list because I just feel like I'll forget everything otherwise. I'm in this season of life where I'm constantly on the go for one thing or another and can't imagine not having a calendar or running list to go off of! Thanks for the encouragement!

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  29. I am definitely a list maker. Every morning. I used to fall into that "defeated by over-ambition" trap too, but over the years, I've gotten better at giving myself some grace, and keep more of a running list now than a "must complete by EOD" list.

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  30. ah, nothing better than crossing off items on a to-do list! seriously, it's the best! great tips in here, need to get better w/ mine.

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  31. oh am i a list maker! I have so many it is ridiculous! love that feeling of getting things done! aha

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