GET SIMPLE – The Lists

25 Jun

As an HR Coach and Personal Organizer I’ve noticed that people fall into two categories: Those who use a To Do list AND those who don’t.

Simple, right?

Not so much.

It took me a while, but I eventually noticed that perhaps people should be that cut and dry on the to do lists. I found that maybe we all have types of lists we need (or should) keep. Not everyone needs a huge master list (I personally don’t). Let’s look at some types of to do lists:

The Master List

Ahhh yes, everything has to be written down to be remembered. There’s nothing wrong with this. Actually, I find that for people who keep the ML there’s a certain type of freedom. When you keep a ML, there’s no pressure to remember things… that “There was something I had to do…” feeling goes away. I know, personally, when I write something down I feel better because I know I don’t have to worry — it’s going to get done

The Errands List

This list can be an amazing timesaver. This week I’ve had four different girlfriends say to me, I forgot to do while I was out. I’m a big believer in doing as many errands as possible at one time. It’s faster, it gets things out of the way and if you have a list, you can save gas, time and energy

The If I Ever See It List

In a pocket in my bag is a list of things that if I ever see them, I need to grab them. Black strap shoes for A’s wedding. A shirt that goes with that splurg skirt I bought (5 years ago), those pens that got discontinued. I’m not a shopper so I’m not one to go out looking for these things that I should have but don’t AND when a girlfriend drags… I mean invites… me out to shop, I typically don’t remember what I actually should be looking for. This list allows me to

The Shopping List

I waste time at the grocery store wandering and trying to remember what I was suppose to get. I’m not a grocery store person, I’m a get-in/get-out person. This list helps me in the same way the Master List does – no pressure to remember and I can run in, get everything and leave

The When I Get A Second List

Otherwise known as the Wouldn’t It Be Nice List — This list is one I have two people using. The things they see around the house that would be great to get out of the way, but they just never get around to it – The list has every project on there they can think of AND the amount of time they *honestly* think it will take. This allows them to do projects as time allows – it isn’t a Must Do list (like fix the roof before it rains *grin*)

The Work List

I had one client who constantly worried about work. Did she forget something? Was there something she had to be in early for? What if her boss called her about a big project? etc. We created a list of work stuff she’d need to have with her to calm her nerves. It was also great b/c she was constantly coming up with work ideas at home and she could just add them to the list

The Phone Calls List

Just what it says. Who do you owe a phone call to? Even when you’re looking forward to talking to someone,

Writing To Do List

This for me is a list going across the top of writing projects that need to get done and under each project is a list of things that needs to get done – I love this list. I can glance at is and see where everything stands and judge by the amount of time I have what I should work on


Now, don’t panic. I’m not saying we should all have that many lists. The Goal of keeping a list is to SIMPLIFY — not to create more havoc! Yours is probably only one of those. Or maybe you’ve combined several of them in to your own version of a Master List. But, if you’re not listing or your listing wrong, you’re losing time and focus.

Tell me, what do you keep a list for… OR what should you keep a list for?

7 Responses to “GET SIMPLE – The Lists”

  1. Kimberly Farris June 25, 2010 at 3:14 pm #

    I love making lists. I have a master list of all the things I need/want to do (I keep it in a binder for portability). I need to start doing a writing to do list. Maybe that’ll help keep me focused.

  2. briaq June 25, 2010 at 3:32 pm #

    The writing list is definitely more to keep me focused than to remind me what I need to do most of the time. Seeing the little lists reminds me this writing thing isn’t just magically going to happen πŸ™‚

  3. Liz Czukas June 29, 2010 at 10:53 am #

    You should SO read Getting Things Done by David Allen. It’s like it was made for you.

    Good for you for being so organized!

    – Liz

  4. newtowritinggirl June 29, 2010 at 12:30 pm #

    I write lists. On bits of paper usually. Then lose them. It’s not great. I once bought a notebook to write all my lists (as well as dreams, writing, ideas for writing etc) but I decided it was too heavy to carry round all the time. I NEED it though. Oh well.

  5. briaq June 29, 2010 at 2:25 pm #

    I’ve read that πŸ™‚

    I’m actually a certified personal organizer and HR Business Partner – I”m OBSESSED with time/space management (shhhh don’t tell, obsessed sounds so… um, obsessed)

  6. briaq June 29, 2010 at 2:26 pm #

    Oh you need my favorite thing! I only carry a wallet and Moleskin makes an unlined notebook that actually FITS IN THE WALLET! It comes in packs of three, you can even get them at B&N πŸ™‚

    They’re awesomeness.

  7. newtowritinggirl July 1, 2010 at 10:20 am #

    That sounds like the exact thing I need. Thanks, will look that up πŸ™‚

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