Madonna does it. Martha Stewart does it. And I do it, too. What do we all have in common (incredibly interesting and successful women *insert wink emoji here*)?
I have always made lists. To-do lists and checklists being my forte. My mom loves to bring up my Junior Prom obsession that involved an incredibly detailed calendar, to-do list, and hour-by-hour schedule of the two days leading up to prom. There was also a highly regimented skin care routine I created to ensure prom perfect photos. I’m a woman that likes organization, we know this.
When I had the opportunity to review Listful Thinking by Paula Rizzo I was pretty positive this book was going to fit right in with my compulsive need for organization and cleanliness. I was not wrong.
The beginning of the book is basically an introduction to lists and the basics. This is good for the non-list initiated, but for me it only covered what I already knew. But don’t skip the introduction, because you first duty is to make a list! As instructed, I listed out my three goals for what I would get out of reading the book:
- Be more organized at work
- Be less stressed (this is my goal for everything in life)
- Learn to get more done in less time
Lists for Home
There is a list for everything you can imagine in this book – from packing for a trip to house/apartment hunting. Yet strangely, the lists I found most useful were for things I never thought of writing down, the little things everyday that you always tell yourself to remember and then you NEVER DO. I am always reading articles with ideas for the house or a book I want to read and tell myself I’m going to remember it, and I never do. And then later on I spend ages googling vague terms trying to find what I saw. So, the first lists I created were (and hey, I’m okay with my media consumption being very important to me):
- TV shows I’ve been meaning to watch
- Movies I’ve been meaning to watch
- TV shows to catch up on
- Books to read
- Articles to read
- Projects around the house
I didn’t expect these to make such a difference in daily life, but having all the things that are constantly swirling in my head written down lifted a burden I wasn’t even aware of. And it’s already created the habit of jotting things down right when I think of them so then I don’t forget them. In fact, I now have a section devoted to just Lists in my planner. Another way to keep these if you’re more digital, add them to your Reading List if you have an iPhone or use the Pocket app. I also use the “Save this” feature on Facebook and Instagram constantly – I see so many recipes from all the blogs I follow that I’d never remember any of them.
Lists for Work
- Create your to-do list and use a timer at work for tasks on it. This keeps me on track. I set it for 10-15 increments depending on the task and really keep to it. I only extend it if something unexpectedly takes more time, but having the timer there really keeps me accountable and on track!
- Create a staff to-do list! I manage a small staff and we don’t have the budget for project management software. I found that I couldn’t easily keep track of who was assigned what, the progress of a project, when something had been finished, etc. I used Google Docs to create a to-do list for each person and included mine. Now we can all see the progress of projects that we are working on collaboratively and I can see what is done and when it was done for my records, assign new tasks easily, and at the same time the staff knows what I’m working on. I was afraid this would be a bit too micromanage-y when I implemented it, but everyone adapted pretty quickly and we’ve all commented on how much more productive we feel be able to cross things off that list.
For the seasoned list maker, Listful Thinking may seem like it’s not for you – however, I did glean enough useful techniques and ideas that I think I completed my list of goals set at the beginning of the book!
This book is great for:
- people that need more organization in their lives
- novice list makers
- list makers that want to better organize their lists