Everywhere you turn, there’s a list for your next chore, or idea.
My Facebook feed is cluttered with the age-old blogging tradition ‘Random things about me’, where friends list the most random and intimate things they have done or thought about. Facebook and Twitter and Blogs are full of ’10 Great Books to Read’, ‘6 Places to Live’, ‘9 Reasons You Need to..’ etc etc etc. Before social media, David Letterman made his bread and butter with his Top 10.
Our every day lives have become chock-full of lists: to-do lists, grocery lists, honey-do lists. The list goes on.
Even Dick Cheney famously made a list when then-presidential hopeful George W. Bush asked him to help find a running mate. we all know how that turned out.
By now, you would think we have listed ourselves to death, or at least, some serious order and control. But we are still making new lists.
In my case, I have a problem. I have a list of lists.
But why do we love making them? Here’s a list:
1. Lists are Order.
People are psychologically attracted to the idea of a list because modern society has left us so overstimulated. we have simply too much information: it’s an overload of daily data. Lists help us organize an overwhelming mess.
2. Lists help us Remember.
Lists help us remember stuff that our otherwise busy brain has trouble keeping tabs on. we no longer need to remember what to pack, what to buy at the grocery store, our dearest friends phone numbers. Checklists help us remember what we have to do and even what we have already done. The big question is: is this a positive?
3. Lists mean something.
Schindler’s list is based on a true story of a German businessman who utilized a list of names to save over 1000 Jewish people from a German concentration camp. List can be used for great good. also worth noting, Schindler’s list is listed as the 8th American film of the past 100 years, on a list of 100.
4. Lists are made by famous people
Many famous people have famously run their days from a list: Thomas Jefferson, Martha Stewart, and Benjamin Franklin amongst others. Franklin is most notable for at a young age having made a personal list of virtues he wanted to live his life by.
5. Lists come from Shakespeare.
Look it up, in the Oxford English dictionary. In Hamlet, the bard refers to “a list of landless resolutes”.
6. Lists are Limited.
Yes, this is a plus. they don’t go on and on forever. Its a finite number of things you need to do.
7. Lists can be longer
Lists can be as long or as short as needed. Depending on what the purpose of the list is, it can have a few items on it, or a few paragraphs.
8. Lists focus your day.
A list, really, is a way to drill down to the actual issues you need to deal with on a particular day.
9. Lists are revealing
Remember the 25 random things posts everyone does? They can inadvertently share a great deal about others. read them again, and read in between the lines
10. Lists keep us from procrastinating.
Making a list is a great way to help us get our heads around big tasks. It can even split the work up into little smaller chords which are easier to tackle. This makes it easier to get started and easier to keep the momentum up.
What’s on your List? Tell me in the comments below!