Lists – As Life Gets Busy, Are You Fully Utilizing This Powerful Tool?

Lists Notebook

Lists help you stay on top of things.

Lists — there are lots of different kinds, and they serve different functions.

As we enter what is arguably one of the busiest times of year for lots of folks, lists can help you stay organized and on top of your game. Often, I’ve written about starting small and building from that base. For many people, that works best.

But you can approach this process another way, too.  So today I want to look at a particular type of list. I call it the “Big Picture” list.

What are Big Picture Lists?

If you want to use lists in the most complete way possible try constructing them based on larger spans of time. An example here would be to have a yearly list of recurring events such as birthdays, anniversaries and vacations. Put these events on a calendar and have them recur annually.

Then review this list on a monthly basis to see what is coming up for the next month. Or even better, try looking two months ahead. This prevents what many of us report experiencing, which is waking up one day and realizing that Thanksgiving is in a week, or children start school in two days, or Uncle Albert’s birthday happened yesterday!

Seasonal Lists Help, Too

Moving down from your yearly lists, you construct and maintain what some people call a seasonal calendar that lists seasonal activities and tasks. Making time choices is often tied to the rhythm of the seasons. On your seasonal list you may choose to record the actual dates on which you will begin the activities and rituals you, your family and friends associate with each season.

Examples here will probably be unique to you. Many people begin to plan spring-cleaning and the rejuvenation of their yard or garden on the first warm day of spring. Imagine how much easier such tasks become when you have examined your seasonal list and begun, ahead of time, to assemble the materials and tools. Then you can begin such tasks as soon as the weather permits.

It’s All About Systems

Creating different kinds of lists and calendars helps you develop systems. Recurring tasks which have been completed successfully provide you with a list of activities that you know works.

You can transfer these items from one yearly calendar to the next with only minor tweaking, thereby creating a template. Not reinventing the wheel for activities that are a regular part of your life is perhaps one of the biggest time-savers of all!

So, think through your own life situation and create those kinds of lists that best suit your unique values and lifestyle. Where will you start? 

Happy list-making!

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