Ask my family. Ask my friends. They’ll give you the same answer. No matter how much they may cringe, they will admit that it is true. Although they probably try to keep it a secret, they will tell you, with a ‘she’s crazy’ sort of smile, that Jessica Letchford, aged 15, is a list-making fanatic.
Please, by all means, laugh; it’s true. I love making lists. It is my hobby. It comes mysteriously naturally.
Now, since I am on a rant about lists, I will give you a short list of the things I make lists about.
- Our water bottle supply (mental, not literally!)
- Things to add to our shopping list (currently: one)
- The phone calls I received on my 15th birthday (the event which I am too slack to mention)
- the amount of our soy sauce supply (currently: two or three)
- Cupboards to organize
- My friends! (An old habit, I assure you!)
Since I am on a rant, I thought I would share with you some beneficial reasons to use the most efficient strategy of all time (aka a list), which applies to everybody today.
- Writing lists helps you stay focused. You know what you have to do, and with a list, you can stay on track with what you have to do, and get more things done.
- Writing lists clears the brain. The fewer things you have on your mind at one time, the better the quality of your current project will be. With a do list you can name the jobs you have to do and come back to them when your job is done.
- Writing lists reduces stress. As I mentioned earlier, list-making takes them off your mind, because you have recorded the things you have to do, and therefore you don’t have to constantly worry about forgetting to do it. Although making lists of the amount of water bottles you own is an extreme, that number might just come in handy sometime!
- It organizes you and your thoughts. Brainstorming before writing something is a form of list making and helps you go in the direction you want to go. Do it mentally or write it out – it helps.
- The most common thing to do with a to do list, is, of course, tick it off. Apparently, ticking releases an endorphin in your mind, which, just like chocolate, relaxes you and makes you feel great. So get to it and tick, tick, tick!
So what are some tools you can use to stay focused, clear the brain, reduce your stress, and organize your thoughts and day?
- Day-to-day diaries have proven to be excellent tools. I have a day-to-half-a-page one, which provides lots of room for me to write the school subjects I plan to have (or have) covered that day, and I have plenty of room left over for any appointments, family plans, and extra projects I want to get done. (if you haven’t realized this, diaries are just list-space in book formats)
- I have what I call a ‘do list’. When I accomplish something on that list, I say I have ‘do-oned it’ (pronounced ‘dooned’ as in ‘doomed’) (By the way, I didn’t invent this. Colin Buchanan did. Thanks Colin!) Every now and then, I type up a two-column page with everything I can think of, and things on my old list (which looks too tatty to be used) that I need to do. After I print it off, I can add jobs I have forgotten, or new things that pop up over the next little while. I keep it tucked in my diary, with easy access. When I plan my day in the morning or the previous night, I sometimes add a few things from my do list to do that day to my diary.
Time management is so, so important. Without it, life would be an absolute disaster zone; we would be burnt out, frustrated, stressed and unable to make Christ look like our Ultimate Treasure. I love to say that God is a God of order, and we are made in His image! Even though sin makes it harder to see and do it, with God… all things are possible. So today, please, take five minutes, write out a do list, stick to it, honour God, and enjoy a stress-free life!
“Dominion and awe belong to God; he establishes order in the heights of heaven.
– Job 25:2