The Art of List Making

Efficient lists keep us organized and productive.

By FamilyTime


The art of list making begins by getting the list out of your head and onto a piece of paper, your notebook, or tablet. Stray scraps or paper and cocktail napkins just won't do!

Make a Master List
To create a master list called a "data dump," record every idea, thought, or task that comes to mind in one place. Refer to this daily and then break down tasks according to the attention they require.

If you are uncomfortable with this mass file, keep various lists -- but keep them all in the same place.

To Do Lists
From your data dump, create a daily "to do" list. Be realistic and match the tasks with your available time.

These lists only work when you make time for the jobs to be done. The key is connecting your list and thoughts to your calendar.

Priority List
This is a list of the top four to 10 items that need your immediate attention.

You might consider this your daily to do list, or instead make it a separate list called something like "immediate action!" or "priorities."

List of Calls To Make
Jot down the day's most important telephone calls, emails and texts. Try to return emails and phone calls within 24 hours, especially if your business depends on it.

List of People To See
Keep a list of the people you should see in person. Schedule meetings and meals. These face-to-face meetings may take place several weeks in the future, but you should keep the list current.

List For Files That You Have
Keep a list of what files you have, why you made the file, and where the file is. This will help when it's time to file a document, bill, or piece of correspondence. It will also help you find one of these important pieces of paper or saved documents quickly.

List for Holiday and Greeting Cards
This list is used regularly but must be updated. A computer-generated program works very well for lists of names and addresses. For those who prefer them, old-fashioned address books are equally handy.

Update someone's information as soon as you get a change of address card or learn of a new phone number or email address. Don't put this simple task off.

Keys Points to List Making
The key points to the art of list making are:
1. As much as possible, centralize the information.
2. List everything in one master list and then make shorter lists.
3. Coordinate the tasks with one calendar.
4. Schedule time in your calendar to take action.
5. Cross items off the lists as you complete them.

Unless you take action, lists are non-functional. Use one calendar -- this will help coordinate your lists and your schedule.