Some people are great lists makers. Whether shopping, going to a business meeting, planning an event, tracking their expenses, setting priorities for the day, these people are intuitively organized about the way they live their lives through lists making.
Other people, myself included, are less likely to structure their lives around lists, but go along through the day as things come up. I want to be more of a list maker.
I believe that lists makers are more productive, experience less stress, have a more clear mind, and work shorter days than those of us who just take care of things as these things pop in front of us. At least, I seem to have a more productive, less stressful day, and can focus better on my work when I have a plan laid out for the things I need to do.
I remember reading a book called The Book of Lists. I really enjoyed the book and as it turns out, according to Wikipedia.org/The Books of Lists, authors Irving Wallace, David Wallechinsky, and Amy Wallace, collaborating and working separately, produced a series of books of lists on odd and curiously interesting topics: world’s greatest libel suits, worst places to hitchhike, people suspected of being Jack the Ripper, and so forth
So some of you may want to save your daily activity lists. You may find they produce a book someday.
I sometimes find that if I make a list, I am more likely to actually use it when it is a short list of things of genuine importance. I might have a list of the three most important people for me to call today. I might have a list that only has one thing on it, such as a long tedious task that will take several hours and may involve taking breaks and returning to for the entire day.
I also find that lists can become outlines with categories and subcategories. For example, I may have on my list three people to call and under each person’s name, I may have a list of things to cover with that person.
Common sense seems to be to limit your lists to things that you really need to get done. With this approach you are more likely to actually use your list and more likely to get to the things done that have genuine importance.
To me, the really important lists are those lists that involve things I want to discuss in meetings or on the phone. Putting these lists together may take a little preparation and review and can become really important in getting cooperation. In these cases, I write down what I want to cover. I may need to review or research my activities with the people who will be in this meeting so that I am be mentally fresh on the material to be covered.
I may try to anticipate questions that a person might have so that I can do some research in preparation for answering those questions. This preparation can create a list of material in itself.