Why I Love Keeping Lists

In my purse, I carry a small notebook with me at all times for jotting down notes. On my desk, I collect scraps of paper where I can write short notes. I also have my to-do list notebook that I keep with me throughout the day, including when I’m reading my Bible. On top of that, I also have a notebook dedicated to recording my thoughts and impressions about what I’m reading in the Bible, praying about or reading in another book. Oh yeah, and then there’s my binder for hospitality ideas and another one for all my writing ideas.


(Fellow list-makers, that’s not overkill, is it?)

The paradox of this is that keeping all those lists and having a place for those ideas actually makes my life easier. To another, it might seem that all those lists are screaming at me for my time and pulling me this way and that. But really, I find that it’s quite the opposite.

I have ideas floating around and too often, if I don’t have them written down, I forget them. Sometimes that’s not a bad thing, because they don’t all need to be done. But the problem arises when I think of them and then feel the need to take care of them, like, now.

That’s where the lists swoop in and come into play. Because they allow me to write those needs, ideas, lists down … and then walk away. I don’t have to worry that I’m going to forget them, because I know that I’ll glance at my list and remember, "Oh yeah, I wanted to mop the floor today," or, "Oh yeah. I wanted to look up my bank statement." Rather than feeling like I have to take care of everything now, whenever the whim surfaces for some action, I can write them down and then use my list as a guide to tackle them efficiently in an order that makes sense.

The other beautiful thing about these lists, is that through them, I can see everything that needs to be done and then take care of them on my own terms—allowing me the freedom to do so in a way that corresponds with my priorities.

A few years ago I read 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It’s a really insightful book for simplifying decisions and actions. One of the things the author mentioned is that all too often, our actions are dictated by things that are urgent but not important. Meaning, that we get the laundry done, but never make time to read our Bible.

And to me, that’s the most important benefit my lists provide: They help me remember what can wait and then take the time to tend to those needs that are urgent and oh-so important.

What about you; are you a list maker? Do you find that they’re helpful in keeping you on track and tending to priorities? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Related Posts
My To-Do List Notebook: A Quiet-Time Essential
What doing "nothing" for a day taught me


  1. Hi there, I'm new to Life Blessons so I just wanted to say that I love your blog and all the things you write about!

    And yes, I'm very much a lists person because my memory isn't the greatest so it helps to write things down :). I also like making timetables with the lists (i.e. saying when I'll do what) as it gives me a visual picture of how much time I have in a day and what needs to be accomplished by the end of it...

  2. I kept lists in college, but since graduating, I haven't been keeping list. I think I need to start because my brain is getting bogged down with everything I'm trying to keep up there. :)

  3. Definitely a fellow list maker here! LOL Chalkboards, paper scraps, notebooks, and now even my smart phone. The act of writing something down is in itself sort of cementing, helps my mind KNOW what needs to happen, and then referring to the lists helps me stay on track. I appreciate your distinction between urgent and important, too. Great blog!

  4. Ah, I'm so glad to hear I'm not the only listmaker with a zillion sorts of lists floating around :)

    I agree, Green Goose, that just the fact of writing it down helps me remember better. It's one of the reasons why I try to take notes when I'm doing my daily Bible reading. It helps with retention so, so much!

  5. absolutely a list! I make lists and then if I do something not on the list I write it down so I can mark it off.... perhaps a bit over the top... but it has served me well for the last 50 years... why stop now...

  6. I am a new reader, and what I've read so far prompted me to subscribe in my reader. I really like the variety of topics you write about!

    I have been a list maker since before my teen years (!) and have found that it is what saves my sanity, especially when I'm busy. Like you, writing it down sets my mind at ease and gives me the freedom to prioritize my tasks as needed. My hubby teased me the first time I begged him for a Palm z22 because I wanted to take my lists digital so my purse would be lighter! Now that my z22 died, I switched to an iPod that has even more functionality than my first little PDA. But I wouldn't know what to do with myself if I didn't have it! =D

  7. I too, am a fellow list keeper. I actually call it chronic list keeping syndrome lol. It's the only way I feel that I can remember everything and keep it all in order. Like you, I keep a small notebook in every bag I carry and the little notebook app on my phone is always full. I get so excited when my friends and family buy me journals or stationery because they know how much I love to write everything down.

    This is such an interesting blog. Count me in as a reader =)

  8. So glad to feel all the list-making love!

    Love the tech-versions for your lists that you use, Cheri. I'm still in the stone-age with paper-and-pen lists!

    Glad you enjoyed this post, Miss Dre! Thanks for reading :)


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