Growing up, I remember hearing my family giggle about my aunts obsession with making lists for everything. Lists for packing, lists for unpacking, lists for grocery shopping, lists for gifts, lists for life ect. My aunt was always super organized in life and lists obviously ruled her life, my mom was not as much, but as I got older, I also saw my mom making lists too, so the benefits of list making must have had an impact somewhere! I am my mother’s daughter but with my aunts thought-process…I just love lists. They have become a key part of maintaining balance in my daily life so if you are feeling overwhelmed this holiday or in life in general…make a list.
Starting in college and living off campus, I realized how important those lists were for my sanity and financial well-being! I wrote lists of things to do for the week such a college coursework or projects, monthly lists of things I needed to do and most importantly, lists for buying food (college meal planning at its finest!). I also wrote lists of things I wanted to do in life, travel too, books to read…writing a list gave me a mental time out and allowed me to focus fully on a topic and then organize it in my mind. It was the only way I can get all these ideas out of my head!
Fast forward time to working full-time, being married, having a child, lists are a daily part of my being and I have even got my own family and coworkers buying into effective list making! This is a BIG part of finding my work-life balance. I use a combination of paper lists and digital applications (Google Keep!) to help me stay organized. Paper lists are much easier for me when food shopping, but Google Keep saves my life for everything else. I love that you can pin a list to prioritize favorites, color code and add check boxes and my favorite feature, add collaborators! (think adding husband and it notifies you as he checks things off the list!)
At work, I use lists to help organize my week, determine what I need to do and follow-up on things that didn’t get done. I encourage my coworkers to write and use lists to help them become more productive and communicate needs.
The most used list in my family is our weekly meal planner. I love to find meals during the weekend to try during the week. I write out the ingredients on a paper list and get ready to hit the stores! This has helped us tremendously stick to a weekly grocery budget! I shop at Trader Joe’s weekly, so if you are familiar with that store, it is very EASY to go off the list and suddenly double your weekly budget for food!
So if you are intrigued about how lists can help you come back from being overwhelmed, check out the list below. This list about lists (!) includes some fun ideas as well as some serious ones that will help inspire you to get back on track and find you life balance.
Feeling Overwhelmed? …Make a List.
- Books you want to read in your lifetime
- Books you have read AND loved AND would recommend
- Books in series – I read a lot of series and often get lost midway, so keeping lists helps me keep track on what book I’m up to in said series. I also hate reading books out of sequence, so this helps me avoid any spoilers!
- Things you are grateful for this week
- Things that make you happy
- A feel-good playlist. List songs that make you feel good
- Things you love about yourself
- Things you love about someone else
- Your own list of writing or journalling prompts
- Self-care ideas
- Your travel bucket list – include the places you have been and take pleasure in ticking them off!
- Bills to pay and due dates – map out a plan and prioritize those bills baby!
- Your to-do list. Get everything out of your head and onto paper!
- All of the things you have accomplished this year – so far
- Things you have achieved in life – so far
- Your happiest memories – so far!
- Inspirational quotes
- Recipes you want to try
- A meal plan for the week – easy meals that are quick to throw together and won’t add to your feeling of overwhelm!
- Restaurants and cafes you want to try out
- Your all-time fave movies
- Movies to watch. Why not include some classics?
- Movies that make you laugh
- TV series to binge-watch
- Your all-time fave songs / bands / singers
- Gift ideas for _____
- Things you want to learn
- Hobbies to take up
- A house renovation list
- Plan to decrease the clutter. List things to throw out!
- A shopping list
- Useful advice / words of wisdom for when times get tough
- Your fave places and spaces
- Your christmas wish list
- Things to pack when you go on holiday
- Phone numbers and addresses. You’ll thank me the next time you have an issue with / break / lose your phone!
- Ideas of things to draw or paint
- Questions to ask your doctor the next time to see them
- Key dates for the year – birthdays, appointments, concerts, public holidays, holidays, and more
- Songs to download or add to your playlist
- Appointments you need to make, like checking in with the good old dentist
- Articles to read
- Itemize all of your valuable possessions
- Who are you favourite people in the wide world?
- What are your values and why?
- Your priorities for … life? The year? The month?
Here’s some additional tips to help you stick to your new list habit!
- Set aside a special pen for ticking completed items off your list or use Google Keep like I do for all things lists.
- Buy some pretty stickers and give yourself a sticker for ticking everything off your list or start a bullet journal that gives you cute icon options to draw in!
- Set yourself a reward for doing everything on your list. It could be a glass of wine, a massage, or some self care time!
Call me crazy, but I get immense satisfaction from ticking things off of my lists! Read: 10 Mindful Self-Care Habits To Help You Find Life Balance
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