List Creation: To List or Not To List

List Creation: To List or Not To List | Little Lost Millennial | Blog

So I’ve already told you about my first love, Day Planners.  Now I’ll tell you about the other love of my life, To-Do Lists.  And no, I don’t have a love triangle drama thing going on between these two loves: they come as a complete package!

While day planners are ah-mazing, to-do lists complement them.  And together, they complete me! “What’s so great about them?” you’re probably wondering.  Well, for starters, they help you get organized.  Everyone start their days–or end it, whatever floats your boat–by making a list.

What’s this I hear?  You don’t make to-do lists?!  No way! Next, you’re going to tell me that you don’t have a day planner.  What the what now?!?! You don’t own a day planner? This is a tragedy! I could go on about how day planners help, but that’s not the love we’re discussing right now.  Also, as a side note, you already own a day planner: it’s that tiny electronic device in your hand, commonly known as a smartphone. I could also go on about that but, like I said before, right now our focus on Mr. To-Do Lists.  You can get to know Ms. Day Planners another time. Now let’s get back to showing to-do lists some love!

Even if you don’t write out what you’ve got going on for a day, you mentally list down what you think you must get finished ASAP, what can be postponed, and all the little things in between.  Although I personally prefer to have things written down (because I get busy and I forget things!), if having a mental list works better for you, by all means keep doing it.  In general though, you can’t deny that to-do lists save your life.

If you’re a busy bee, these little guys really help put things into perspective and show you which items to prioritize first.  There is no right way or wrong way to tackle these lists: you just kind of do them. Although, from my experience, they don’t come without their share of woes.

What’s wrong with this list?!

As much as I love to-do lists, they can get pretty overwhelming. You don’t think so?  Oh OK; but just hear me out!

If you’re as obsessed about being organized like I am, you’ll have lists coming out of every crevice of your entire being: you’ll have a general to do list; then you’ll have a list that contains specifics for the bigger task in your general list; theeeen you’ll end up having to make a list to list down all your lists.

See what I mean?!  Am I the only one with this problem?  I swear I’m not crazy!

Actually, that’s a lie.  The list on list on list part; not the crazy part.  I’m really not crazy. And I’ve learned to calm down with the list making.  I still have them–but I try to control the way I make them. I think…maybe.  I’ll have to check on that.

Another problem with list making is deciding which platform you should use.  There are so many different apps out there for this very purpose. And of course, there’s also the plain ol’ writing it all out manually technique.  But where do you write it? Just a random piece of paper you’ve got lying around? A sticky note? Your day planner? Your journal? A bullet journal?!  WHERE?!

Who knew being organized was this messy?  And frustrating. Extremely frustrating. So frustrating that by the end of the day, you end up lost and stuck not knowing how to proceed.

Lucky for you, though, you’ve found your way to Little Lost Millennial, where you’ll find different ways to keep yourself ahead of this organization game.  At least that’s the plan anyway.

So why should you have to-do lists if they’re so damn torturous?  Easy! Because they’re not all that bad. Sure, you have a bunch of options thrown in your face regarding how to make your lists; but really, it’s all up to you what you make of it.  Like I mentioned earlier, if you’re the type to just always make a mental list–though I don’t recommend that–go for it! Why don’t I recommend just having your list in your head? Because it’s easy to forget about it.  Time flies by. If you get distracted, there isn’t a visual cue to remind you that there’s something else that needs to get done.

If you’re always on the go, the best format for you would probably be to have a list right on your phone.  It’s 2019, the majority of us have a smartphone in our purse or pocket; and we’re so attached to this little-ish device that it’s silly not to utilize it for keeping track of our to-do’s.

List Making Techniques: Pros and Cons

Manually writing it out

Although we’ve got technology being shoved in our faces left, right, and centre, this particular technique never gets old.  As long as pens and papers still exist, there will be somebody that will prefer to use them.

– Data won’t disappear if your tech fails.
– Easy to spot if the piece of paper used is laying on top of your pile.
– Reliable in times of power-outage (yes, smartphones aren’t affected during power outages either, but what if you get that red “low battery” warning of doom?).
– Loose paper is easy to lose (hah!).
– Writing things out is tiring.
– There may not be any pen or paper available nearby.
– You could end up rewriting things because you lost your handy piece of paper/notebook/whatever you use to write on.

There’s an app for that

Let’s face it: there’s an app for everything.

– Easy access.
– Available on the go.
– Less clutter!!! (and you all know how I feel about clutter).
– Risk of data loss if information doesn’t have a back-up.
– Too many options to choose from (being organized has its own downsides).

Combination: manual and app

Your third option is to use both techniques in combination.

– BACK-UPS!  (if tech fails you, you’ve got your paper handy; and vice versa) – Double entries: may cause confusion
– Do you really want to be transferring information back and forth between two mediums?
– Daunting.

You can see from these three lists that the pros and cons are pretty much head to head.  At the end of the day, the way you choose to make your lists all depends on your personal preference.  Do you like the feel of pen and paper on hand? Choose the manual method! Are you always on the go and tech savvy?  Go with an app! Just avoid falling down the rabbit hole of trying to choose one of the numerous options available. Feeling ambitious?  Combination is the way to go!

Get creative with your list building techniques; learn what’s more comfortable for you, and what works with your lifestyle. There isn’t one perfect way to create lists; if there was, we’d all be doing it by now.

For me personally, although I like the feeling of writing things down using a pen and paper, I tend to come up with ideas on the go so I lean more towards using apps.  If you’re like me and you like the feel of writing things out but you’re more of a technophile, there is equipment available allowing you to write things out as if you were using a pen and paper, but it’s directly on a screen!  It’s not the most budget friendly option, but the choice is there if you want it.

Now that you’ve seen what it takes to create a list, what’s your preferred method?  Is there a pro or a con I’ve missed for any of these options? Do use another way to create lists?  List down all your thoughts and opinions in the comments!

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