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Lists have a wonderful way of bringing a sense of order to our lives – of making life seem that little bit easier, and more under control.
When you regularly write things down you begin to feel calmer, more in control and more accomplished. And one of the quickest and easiest ways to write things down is as a list.
Lists are both:
- a great way of getting things out of our head; and
- a great reference tool – something to refer back to later to help you find ideas and information, and to help you make decisions.
You can use lists for practical things such as important dates and tasks that need to get done, as well as for fun ideas, goals and plans.
Not only is making a list is a great way to bring order to the swirling mass of thoughts in your head, having a list to refer to later makes everything easier and more efficient – from packing for your next vacation to shopping for Christmas gifts.
Lists will help you:
- Organize and prioritize your tasks
- Save time (you can easily refer back to the information you need)
- Capture happy memories
- Dream about and plan for the future (having something to look forward to is a great happiness booster)
And of course one of the very best things about lists is the double feeling of accomplishment you get from, firstly writing a list, and then marking things off when you have completed items on your list!
Where to keep your lists
It doesn’t really matter where you keep your lists, as long as you know where they are so you can refer to them when you need to.
You can keep them in your bullet journal, planner, notebook, or favourite list-keeping app on your phone or computer. Or in the case of wish lists, on a piece of paper or printable that you can give to someone.
I also use the app AnyList for our household grocery list and general shopping list. I love how AnyList makes it easy to create shareable lists. So, when my husband is at the store shopping for groceries, and I realise I forgot to add milk, I can add it and it updates on his list in real-time.
Take a look at these 31 ideas for lists to make your life easier, more efficient and more fun!
Friends & Family Lists
1. Gift ideas
Keeping a running list of gift ideas throughout the year will make shopping for the holidays, birthdays and anniversaries so much easier.
2. Cards to send
Keep track of who to send cards to each year, and when they are sent.
3. Celebration menu ideas
List your traditional holiday or celebration favourites, as well as anything new you’d like to try.
4. Holiday activity ideas
Which movies would you like to watch? Or cookies would you like to bake?
5. Date-night ideas
Keep a list of ideas for nights out, restaurants or cafes to try, places to visit, meals to cook, movies to see etc.
6. Books to read
Make a note of recommendations you get and next time you’re at the airport or bookstore staring blankly at the shelves, you’ll know what to pick!
7. Movies/series to watch
Keep track of movies and tv series that appeal to you and you can stop the endless scrolling through the channels in search of something to watch.
8. Podcasts to listen to
Write down the names of podcasts that sound interesting so you have something new to listen to when your current favourite finishes.
9. Places to visit
Be a tourist in your home town. What attractions would you like to visit, or activities would you like to try?
10. Rainy Day / Bad Weather Activities
For those days when you feel stuck indoors, keep a list of activities you can do, or places you can go to escape the weather.
11. New hobbies to try
List new hobbies you’d like to try someday. They could be something creative, something sporty, or something musical for example.
12. Groceries to buy
Keep a list of what you are out of, or what you need to buy when you are next at the grocery store.
13. Go-to meals
Make meal planning easier by keeping a list of go-to recipes that you know your family will eat and are easy to prepare.
14. New recipes to try
For when you’re in the mood to try cooking something different.
15. Favourite wine/ beer
When you enjoy a glass of great new wine or beer, add it to a list so next time you want to buy it you’ll remember what it is.
Keep a list of regular chores that need to be completed, as well as one-off household projects that need to get done.
17. Important phone numbers
Create a list of important numbers for the housesitter, babysitter, or petsitter to access easily.
18. Gratitude list
Writing a list of things you are grateful for is a sure-fire way to boost your happiness.
19. Gift Wish list
Keep a wish list for those times when people ask you what you’d like for your birthday, Christmas, or other special occasions.
As Christmas approaches, the tradition in our family is to each create a wish-list of “something I want, something I need, something to wear and something to read.”
This helps everyone out with their holiday shopping, especially Santa!
20. Bucket list
Create an ultimate bucket list of things you want to do, or create one by season or year.
Not only will a bucket list give you something to look forward to, but it will also give you a way to look back, relive good memories and reflect on what you’ve done. All of which are great happiness boosters!
21. Favourite songs
Write a list, or create a playlist in Spotify or another music app.
22. Favourite movies
When you have a list of favourite movies, you’ll always find something to watch.
23. Favourite jokes
Is it just me who can never remember good jokes? Write down the good ones so you can remember them later.
24. Self-care activities
Keep a list of your favourite self-care activities, as well as new activities to try.
Travel & Vacation Lists
25. Packing list
Create a master list of “always pack”, as well as supplemental lists for different types of trips.
You could have a separate supplemental packing list for beach vacations, one for city-breaks, one for ski trips etc.
26. Countries, cities or towns to visit
Keep track of all the places in the world that you’d like to visit.
27. Activities to do
Outdoor activities you’d like to try such as rock climbing, or galleries, museums or other attractions you’d like to visit.
28. To-do list
Create a master list to capture everything, as well as separate monthly, weekly and daily to-dos.
39. Ta-da list
I love this idea which I heard on episode 134 of the Happier with Gretchin Rubin podcast. A ta-da list, where you write down what you have done (ta-da!) will help you to feel positive and energized by your achievements.
You can create lists of both short-term and long-term goals. When you write down your goals you’ll be much more likely to achieve them.
Keep a list of habits you are currently tracking, or new habits you would like to develop.
So there you have it. 31 examples of lists you can create to help you feel calmer, more organized and more accomplished.
Use lists to capture those things you want to remember, take note of happy moments from today and make fun plans for the future.
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