{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
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

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?

Similar Posts


  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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".

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *