The Psychology of Making Lists
Last week my sons tortured my daughter telling her that she was on the naughty list. Hubby and I kept reminding her that their lists didn’t matter and encouraged her to not worry about it. (We also told the boys to stop being pain-in-the-rears.)
This week as I sat under the hair dryer of my magician beautician Abby, I showed her my To-Do list. Abby commiserated with me on the need to make lists and just how quickly those lists grow.
More importantly we discussed how making lists boosts our self-esteem and motivates us to do more.
Are you a list maker?
Well, if you are, excellent! The next few pieces of information will support your productive habit. If you aren’t a list maker, maybe you will find some solutions to your chaotic craziness in the advice provided about the psychology of making lists.
In the Pyschology Today article, “How Making Lists Can Quell Anxiety and Breed Creativity: Six benefits of a small solace-producing obsession,” Dr. Carrie Barron explains some very powerful benefits of list making.
Here are the Six Great Benefits of Lists. Lists:
- Provide a positive psychological process whereby questions and confusions can be worked through. True purposes surface.
- Foster a capacity to select and prioritize. This is useful for an information-overload situation.
- Separate minutia from what matters, which is good for identity as well as achievement.
- Help determine the steps needed. That which resonates informs direction and plan.
- Combat avoidance. Taking abstract to concrete sets the stage for commitment and action. Especially if you add self-imposed deadlines.
- Organize and contain a sense of inner chaos, which can make your load feel more manageable.
Dr. Barron’s lists hits home in so many ways. I love that she included true purpose, identity and achievement, and containing inner chaos. We can all use those things. There is just one specific benefit I would add to her list:
*7. Provides greater assurance that you will remember what you actually went into to the grocery store to buy.
As our lives seem to gain greater speed with each passing moment, we can make the most of our time if we organize our thoughts and purpose. List making is a terrific tool to do just that.
If you are needing a place to start each day or a boost to your morale, list away. Plan your day around your To-Do’s. Be sure to add one No-Doubt task. (This is a task there is not doubt you will do.) Marking that one thing off your list will propel you forward successfully.
My friend Lori always starts her lists with something she has already done, so that she can feel accomplished before she ever gets started. 🙂
Energy that has purpose, like the initiative found in lists, provides positive reinforcement for facing daily challenges.
Steadily working your way through your To-Do’s is definitely the fast track to earning your very own spot on the “Nice List” (at least the Nice-to-Yourself List).
By: Melanie A. Peters
Source: Barron, Carrie, MD. “How Making Lists Can Quell Anxiety and Breed Creativity.” Psychology Today. Psychology Today, 9 Mar. 2014. Web. 23 Dec. 2016. <https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-creativity-cure/201403/how-making-lists-can-quell-anxiety-and-breed-creativity>.