There is nothing better than making a good list. Want to plan the perfect vacation? Write a list. Want a new career? Write a list! Feeling down? Write a list. You get my point, right? Lists help you to organize your life and mind, and give you something to work through to get yourself back on track, no matter what ‘on track’ looks like to you.
You can have daily to-do lists, weekly to-do lists, monthly to-do lists and more. You can create lists upon lists, scrap them, start again and use them to ground yourself. But the true power in lists lies not on the back of the receipt or in your phone notes, but in the planner or notebook, you choose to write them in.
1. Write down what success looks like
Lists break down the sheer amount of things you have to do into the simple bullet-pointed structure and allow you to create some framework in your life. You probably don’t know this but the power of a list is incredible.
The first step in learning how to plan your life for success is by writing down what success actually looks like. If you’re wondering where to start and how to plan your life for success, well start from the very beginning.
Grab your planner or notebook and write down where you want to be and what you want to do. Every single step on your journey can be written out, you can cross some things off that seem a little wild, but as long as it’s written down and not in your head – you’ll already be on the way to success.
Writing lists works because it helps your brain process things in order – your brain likes to see things aligned. There’s also the so-called “Zeigarnik effect” – we remember things we need to do better than things we’ve done. You’ll remember items on your list so much easier than you’ll remember the tasks you completed last week.
2. Making a plan helps you finish tasks
Whenever you feel stressed or overwhelmed, the best thing to do is to start making a plan. Lists free you from anxiety and stress by creating order. Studies have shown that people underperform on a task when they are unable to finish a warm-up activity that would usually precede it. However, when participants were allowed to make and note down concrete plans to finish the warm-up activity, performance on the next task substantially improved.
This means that if you write it down, you’re more likely to do it, and reduce the stress and anxiety surrounding doing it too!
3. Write out a love list
Writing a daily gratitude list helps you consciously focus on what’s good in your life, and can really shift your thinking. Find out why keeping a gratitude journal is the first step to success, here. And often, the process of writing a list tackles procrastination head-on and subsequently boosts productivity.
While creating love-lists (things, places, and people you’ll grateful for) is the perfect remedy for a busy day, because it allows your brain to ‘remember’ what makes it happy, boosting endorphins and giving you a kick of motivation.
4. How to make a better to-do list:
1. Use your notebook in combination with a calendar or diary (like the Goals 2019 – 2020 Diary) and make sure your deadlines are realistic.
2. Create a system for tackling your priority tasks first.
3. Rewrite your list with more order or structure and use color codes to organize it.
4. Be kinder to yourself and reward your efforts
5. Reevaluate your list after you progress through it – make sure it’s realistic and achievable