I could never live without lists, when life turns my whole world upside down, as it has liked to do quite often this year, I turn to lists. They give your mind space, bandwidth to deal with other things like emotions. Life is so much better with a good list.
Yes, I am the woman who has been teased mercilessly by those that were in our wedding party as I handed the best man a wad of paper, my lists for the wedding. There were lists for the various groomsmen of what needed doing and when, there were spare lists in case they misplaced their copies and there was a list of lists so he knew who had to have what list. I have a book of lists, I find the action of writing it down opposed to typing it out, far more cathartic.
But if you are a list virgin, having winged it for so long and feeling the need to take some control, here are the top 15 lists you must start with.
- Meal Planning – when you finish work who on earth can be bothered to check what is in the fridge, pop to the shops and cook? Meal planning means you can save money on your grocery expenses by thinking through what you have, what needs to be used by a certain date, when you need to cook something fast as its club night and it helps to remind you when to take something out of the freezer in time to defrost when you want. I prefer a paper list for this and have it up where the family can see it.
- Groceries list – this list in particular works best either on the fridge or on our phone, just keep a running list as you run out of goods. Just delete once you have replaced it.
- Gift Wish List – well we would suggest this one! When you think of something you would like make a note of it, how much and where it is from. Again, this is better done on the phone as you can even take a photograph of the item. Then when it is nearer your birthday and you are asked if there is anything you want, rather than going completely blank you can just forward them the list.
- Christmas List – yes! Really! Keep a list going either on your phone or in a notebook that no-one else uses otherwise there may be no surprises come December. In the list write the staples that you need like wrapping, cards etc. In another part who you have to buy for and perhaps a budget for those gifts and also any ideas as and when you come across them. When you buy something for Christmas add a note.
- Online Orders List – especially round Christmas time and when planning an event. This works equally well on a phone as it does in a notebook. Keep track of what you have ordered, where from, ETA, when it arrives, if you need to send it back and if you have received your refund. Trust me when I say there will have been times when you have send something back and some retailers may have ‘forgotten’ your refund! As a consumer this has happened to me, as a retailer we are proud to say it hasn’t!
- Household Chore List – B-O-R-I-N-G! I know, but have a list that is out and in the household’s face means that what needs doing is truly staring at them. If someone says ‘can I help’ you can immediately send them to the list, but I also find that the family are more likely to use their initiative when they realise how much needs doing and will do a job or two.
- Call/Email List – remember to add family relatives, not just work or household calls. It is all to easy to keep thinking I shall call them tomorrow each time, sometimes there tomorrow does not arrive. Add a priority number alongside so you can action according to urgency.
- Daily To Do List – all the jobs you need to do. This one I find much better to physically write down but that’s me, you might find an app works for you. Every Sunday I write down what I need to do for the week, adding at the end of each day I add items as I think of them so I can switch off from work and home admin.
- Brain Dump List – as you think of things that you need to do long term but not by a specific time, write it on a long running list. As and when you have time and inclination, go to the list and cross an item or two off.
- Family Sizing – keep an up to date list of everyone in the families sizes, not just their clothes size but also their measurements. Chest; waist; hips; inside leg; arm length. Also, their current shoe size. This I find better on the phone so when out and about and you see a good deal you have a chance of not having to return because it doesn’t fit.
- House Measurements – windows; table lengths; items you wish to replace. This way you an avoid remeasuring 30 or 40 times the same window when you go shopping for new curtains or see a new tablecloth you want. Phone is best for this.
- Wish Lists – items that you have heard various friends and family say they want, make a note of it, keep a list of their birthdays and mark off when you have got their gift and card. If you keep you ears open you will always be given inspiration by the birthday boy or girl.
- Food Dislikes and Allergies of Family & Friends – so you don’t go serving up cucumber salad to the friend who has an oral allergy, or fish in breadcrumbs to your gluten free buddy. Make a note so when you invite them over for dinner the only thing to worry about is the hangover the next day.
- Websites – bookmarking on your phone is useful and it is also greener than doing a google search. Data centres current consume about 2% of the electricity worldwide, this is expected to rise to about 8% of the global total by 2030. If you can go straight to your website rather than via a search engine then you could save a miniscule amount of electricity but it will add up over time and it also means you can click on the link much faster.
- Packing List – if you have young children, this is a no brainer! We keep ours as a spreadsheet so we can add and delete as needs change. You could go all out and be hopeful by colour coding according to responsibility to pack those items, in our household though they would all be one colour, mine!
We all have a certain amount of bandwidth to deal with things in our life. If you have lingering in the back of your head that you need to get the dinner out of the freezer when you are working, you are not going to give your tasks your full attention. It may be a chore to start writing a list but it really can make the difference to your mental health especially when you see how much you are achieving when you cross off on your ToDoList. Tell us what your favourite list and how it helps you, we would love to know.
If you are wanting to indulge yourself, you could always treat yourself to one of our personalised notebooks, we can pop your child’s drawing, your drawing, a photograph, a logo, or choose one of our designs to personalise.
We also have a free download for tracking your Christmas online shopping which you can find by clicking here