What kind of lists do you make? (image Pexels)

Lists | Productivity and Organizing Tools

As a Productivity and Organizing Professional I know that lists are one of many tools that can be helpful for personal and professional use. They are easy to create and use, but do you know that having a list doesn’t necessarily make you more organized or productive? One of the benefits of organizing is having a place for everything, in this case, your list. Read on.

Lists | Why we make them

Don’t you love the satisfaction of crossing out or checking off items on your lists? Are you one of those people who loves making lists? Do you refer to your lists on a daily basis? Do you rewrite your lists? Do you have written lists on multiple pads in multiple places? In other words, are your lists organized and structured in a way that is productive?

The better questions might be:

  • What types of written ( or digital) lists do you keep?
  • Do your lists help you get things done and keep you on track?
  • Are the action items your lists tied to a day and time?

An effective list, whether written or digital is a visual aid that helps you to remember items and tasks. A list is a structure that organizes or contains, like items such as things to purchase or things to do. Lists can also be used to store books that you want to read, topics to research, movies you hope to see and so on.

Lists | Written versus digital

There is no best way to create lists. The best way, of course, is the way that suits your learning style and enhances your productivity. Technology has never been more accessible. If you have your cell phone with you then access is easy. You can use tools and apps that help you to create any type of list that you need. If you are “old school” and prefer written lists then the list needs to be handy for reference and ongoing revisions.

3 Tips | How To Create An Effective List

How to use your lists (image Pexels)
  1. Structure your list. Understand the purpose of your list(s).
  2. Streamline your list. A list is not a brain dump. Limit the number of items on your to do list to prevent overwhelm.
  3. Schedule items on your to do. A to do list is for actions items, only. Anything that requires action (making a call, writing an email, etc.) requires some amount of time in order to do it.

One of the best tools for scheduling action items is to use time blocking (click on this link to find out more). When I am coaching someone on effective time management we create blocks of time for types of tasks. When it is time to schedule a task there is a block of time on specific days to get that type of task done.

Organizing and productivity tools are only helpful if they are easy to use and maintain. Consider working with a professional like me to decide which ones are best for your personal and professional needs. Any change in behavior is like breaking a habit. It takes time and repetition to evaluate its effectiveness. Don’t give up too soon!

More resources:

How to make a list you’ll actually stick to

The Best To-Do List Apps