Recently a client was complaining that he had a difficult time getting his staff to follow check-off lists for important systems that need to be completed in a certain way at specific times throughout the day.
I must say that I am right there with him in his perplexity of what the issue is. I love lists. I have a list for just about everything. I could retire if I had $1 for every time I’ve heard, “Now that’s a shopping list,” at the grocery store.
I have a packing list that I use and keep updated for items I need when traveling. Everything is on that list. Being able to follow that list and knowing that absolutely everything I need is on it keeps me calm while I’m packing and helps me get the job completed faster.
The real power of lists, however, comes from what happens in our subconscious minds when we create a list or follow one routinely. Have you ever had the experience of forgetting your shopping list and yet you remembered everything on it? Most people just think, “Wow. I’m good. See, I didn’t need that list after all.” So you stop making the list. Then what happens? You don’t remember things as well.
Many people, including some psychologists, believe that when we write things down, we’re writing them on our subconscious minds. Can you think of all the implications this could have?
I, for one, am a firm believer that “writing it down makes it happen.” And there many other people out there who share my view. See Write It Down Make It Happen by Henriette Anne Klauser.
In some ways, lists are like pets: Feed them and they will give you lots of adoration and unconditional love. (But I can’t remember the last time my cat spouted back to me my top 20 career successes.)
In writing this article, I found 18 reasons to love keeping lists and was inspired to write a poem. (Elizabeth Barrett Browning, please forgive me.)
Ode to My Lists
Oh, list. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love how help me remember my important goals in life and yet, at the same time, how you’re not too full of yourself to remind me of the little things too.
I love how you always want to go everywhere with me and never complain about how much I put on you.
I love how you sit quietly and patiently until I am ready for you.
I love how you clear my head and organize my thoughts.
I love how you help me make my dreams come true.
I love how you can retrieve so much information at my every whim.
I love how you keep me calm by always making yourself available during trying times – like packing a suitcase – and through thick or thin.
I love how you know my hopes, desires, dreams, likes, dislikes, and accomplishments and yet you never judge me.
I love how your only concern is with me and my needs.
I love how you are always available to me, morning, noon, night, every day, week, month, season, year and beyond.
I love how the only time you fail me, is when I forget you. But then you always forgive me, and are willing to stay by my side at all times.
I love how you keep track of all my ideas and never laugh at them.
I love your versatility; you can be personal and professional, static or dynamic.
I love how you can mingle my business and personal lives and yet, at the same time, keep them separate.
I love how you help me create systems that lead to my success.
I love how you always come through for me.
I love how you never get jealous of other lists.
I know there are many other ways that I am leaving out. Ah, but alas, you will eventually remind me!
Okay, so my poetry writing needs a little work. Other than that, what do you think? In what ways have lists helped you? What kind of lists do you keep? (I am always looking for new lists to try.)
Until next time,