I have a habit. A pretty major one. It doesn’t require meetings or a step program. At least not yet.
This being my safe space, I’m sharing it. I am, positively, unequivocally addicted to writing lists. I don’t mean writing lists for grocery shopping and household chores. Although I do write those.
I mean lists for just about everything in my life. I write them in notes on my phone. I email them to myself. I write them in physical notepads (of which I have at least 10 always on the go) and I have a serious stockpile of post it notes in a rainbow of colours, ‘filed’* in my cupboards. They cover things like (yep, it’s a list – enjoy):
- Tasks to complete in my 9 to 5 job each day, week, month and each quarter.
- Ideas for my 9 to 5 social media plan.
- Projects I’m working on for clients.
- Taglines for clients.
- Taglines that just seem too good not to write down.
- Countries I want to visit (and then sub lists of all of the things I want to see, taste, touch and smell in said countries).
- My weekly meals – fantasy list and realistic list (dependent on time/energy levels).
- My social activities and commitments.
- My personal writing projects – poetry, ezine ideas, short stories. You name it.
- Other ‘general’ creative projects – candle making, photography, vegan recipes etc.
- Lists of gifts / experiences I want to get someone.
- Lists of things I want to buy myself (hey, one must pamper oneself!)
- Perfumes I need to try.
- Lists of equipment I need.
- Lists of all of the gins I want to try.
- Lists for soundtracks by project, event, mood etc.
*A.K.A. sorting by category and then stacking them neatly together.
A list for me is multi-functional. Oh yes, I am about to justify my habit and I want you on board. A list helps me to distill all of the ideas and information flying around my head at any one time. There’s always a lot happening.
Not in a, ‘I can’t cope / can’t finish anything’ kind of way. In a ‘this is who I am’ way (and coincidentally part of why I’m an insomniac, I’m sure) – my brain is seldom still. Please feel welcome to send some chill out suggestions my way. Though fairly certain I’ve tried most.
A list helps me focus on the tasks ahead which helps me to feel mighty accomplished (and damn proud of myself) when I look at all of the things I’ve ticked off. Some days I look at the list and I’m methodical, completing it in chronological order and some days, I cherry pick the ones I want to do first. I know my limits (haha).
A list is also a motivator for me – sometimes just in knowing that there are things to be achieved and sometimes, in looking back at the treasure trove of ideas and stories I’ve stored on all those post it notes. A reminder I am creative to the core, yo. And reading them after time often inspires me in other ways. My lists, inspire. How many of us can say that?!
If there’s to be a point to this post, other than to extol the virtues of a list or my love affair with pen and paper (and every other format), it’s to say, don’t let the list beat you.
Write the list. Embrace the list. Be at one, with the list.
I am guilty at times of writing lists that seem to have no end. And then I look at those lists and I see my scrawl go on for days and I think, not today, list. Overwhelming to say the least. The lists we need to be writing are achievable lists (except for your fantasy list – write that as often and as frequently as possible please… and you know, don’t stop dreaming or trying to make that fantasy happen).
When it comes to groceries – done and done. Unless you’re planning on picking up some hottie from the fresh food aisle, this list is a cinch.
Your personal project list… not so much. Record the items that need your attention. And then make a smaller list for each. Break it into baby bites and take baby steps. For example – “Rule Instagram” on the list? Break that baby down into the what, how and why and so forth. Determine what your offering is. List how you’re going to best communicate that through look and through the content you’re sharing. List what you need to achieve that (for example, a content calendar!) and so on.
If lose weight is on the list (most of us have been there… please don’t let this be your only project though) then list the goals by week or by month. List the activities and the resources that will help you achieve your goal – in bite size pieces. This can be as simple as writing, “walk 30 minutes and drink 2 litres of water”. Add to it over time as your confidence, commitment and enthusiasm increases.
Whatever your personal project lists look like, make them gentle. Make sure they’re achievable. And be kind to yourself if you have an off day – not getting everything done in one day, is actually, shockingly, ok!
Your client list? This one is non-negotiable. This needs to be set in order of deadline and your commitment to the client. No ifs ands or buts. Once you’ve disappointed a client with an “I have to push your deadline by a day or a few days because my schedule is crazy”, you’ll struggle to win the trust back. And potentially the client. What they hear is “I procrastinated with other things / easier tasks / you’re not a priority”.
You don’t want to be that person. Get a calendar for clients and a calendar for you. Or merge them and colour code them for differentiation. But you need to see where your time is, where your priorities are and how your list fits in. And guuurl, you’ll nail it.
Please tell me you also love lists?! If not… tell me why you made it to the end of a post all about lists.