Monday, 23 August 2010

Guest Post: The Successful Art of List Making

Hey Ya'll! Since I'm busy packing and getting ready for my flight tomorrow morning, we've got a guest post from Mandy at Mandy's Life After 30. Enjoy!


Hi, I’m Mandy and I’m a list-oholic. The first step is admitting you have a problem, right? Or maybe listing it out on paper?

Anyway, I am a list maker! You might not know that when you look around my messy house or my dirty car. On the surface, I do not appear to be an organized person. But trust me, if it weren’t for my lists, I would be in complete disarray!

I’m a firm believer in creating lists. I feel such a sense of accomplishment when I cross items/activities off of that list I made.

Here is a list of all the varying lists I keep up with regularly (I have a list of my lists --- hee hee, that’s funny or dorky, however you look at it):

• My calendar – I keep a weekly chart on my desk and write in it almost every day. I track what activities I do with my daughter, what exercise I’ve done, and any important reminders like birthdays of friends. I often look ahead and flip back to my calendar throughout the year. I love having it as a reference for what I’ve done or will be doing.

• Meal planning – I track on an Excel spreadsheet the meals I eat and the recipes I intend to cook. I started doing this last December and it has become such a blessing. It saves me time, money and the stress of trying to figure out last minute ideas for my family.


• Freezer inventory – Once I began meal planning, I then had to start tracking what I kept in my freezer since I was doubling recipes and saving them for later. My freezers quickly became overwhelmed with muffins, chopped veggies, soups and pancakes. So I keep up with a monthly list of my freezer’s contents too.

• Grocery lists - Everyone keeps a grocery list for produce and other items needed. I’m no exception. The hardest part is sticking to that list instead of purchasing other items you don’t really need.

• Travel lists - I keep a tabbed list for when I take short day trips or overnight trips – things I don’t want to forget to pack, like my camera, a change of clothes, snack items and much more. I will often pull from online sources for the best items to pack and how to pack them when I need a few tips.

Also, a few months ago, I was creating monthly challenges for myself – such as preparing for a 5k race and doing the 30-day shred as often as I could during March. In addition, I challenged myself to read four novels during April. By keeping a list and writing down my progress, I stayed motivated to continue my challenges.

Now you might be thinking…. Sheesh, Mandy, I know lists are helpful but they’re not very interesting or fun~! Well they could be! You can make your lists more meaningful and special.

And Mandy, I just can’t seem to stick to a list. Well then, maybe your list making skills just need some fine-tuning then!
Here are five, simple ways you could you jumpstart your list making abilities and see success with them:

• First and foremost, keep them flexible. Don’t be married to the idea that your lists won’t change. Because they do. They change all the time and that’s okay! Just roll with it!

• Put them in a special notebook or on pretty paper. I recently purchased this pretty book made from recycled materials to keep in my purse for note-taking and ideas:


• Post them around your house (or car or purse) in a few different places. Hang it from your ceiling if it will make you smile and cause you to take action! Mix it up and have fun.

• You can call me crazy but sometimes it’s good to talk to yourself (and your friends or children) in the form of a list. For example, say, “I want to go to Target to shop for a new pair of shoes but first I must stop at the bank to deposit this check.” This helps you stay on track, keeping you focused on what needs to be done!

• Don’t make your list too long or it will overwhelm you – you’ll become lost with the many things you have to do or want to accomplish.


Take it from my daughter Vivian – she knows what happens when I create a list of too many things! Hahaha!

Instead, create that one master list. Review the items that you can do quickly and easily first and put those on a small list. Then put away that master list in a folder or save it on your computer for later reference. Your goal is to create simpler, more attainable lists that you can achieve. I prefer to break up my lists into weekly or monthly goals. When you have three things to do versus 300 of them, you’re more likely to dive into those three things and be ready for a fourth rather than quit before you start!

These are just a few tricks that I have learned over the years about list making. They have helped me make positive changes into my life.

Like I said, I love to make lists. I even check them twice and hold myself accountable to them…. Was I naughty or nice this week?

What are some ways that you make lists? Do you find lists helpful?

I hope you found this post helpful. If not, feel free to make a list of reasons why you didn’t like it in the comments section. Hahaha. At least that will get you started! ;-)

Thanks to Diary of a Chocoholic for letting me guest write here on this fabulous blog. I’ve enjoyed sharing some insight into my crazy life and list-making brain. Cheers to all of you! Happy List Making!


  1. I'm a list-maker myself -- in my calendar, on sticky notes, on scraps of paper. There is SUCH a sense of satisfaction when something gets crossed off! The problem of late, though, is finding time to do the things on my lists rather than having the lists swirling in my brain, oppressively reminding me of their existence and of my inefficiency ....

  2. The main reason i make lists these days is because i've lost my memory!!!! all thanks to my 3 year old twins!! I think I could single-handedly keep 3M in business :) Or those girls that invented Post-Its (you know, Romy and Michelle??) :) Thanks for the post, Mandy!

  3. I am too a list maker. At the age of 23 I seem to loose my memory more often. Arggh! Hence the list, but I seem to also forget to list everytime!

    Nice posts. I added you in my blogroll. Will be dropping by again. :)

  4. You should write a book on list making! :)

  5. I really need to do more of this; especially for groceries! My problem is even when I make a list I tend to deviate from it. Great post and it gave me some great ideas!

    Good luck with your trip tomorrow!

  6. Mandy, it would be a very LONG list if I wrote down all the reasons that I love reading your posts!! I'm a major list maker. You're reminding me that I need to make a list of school clothing needs very soon. Thanks!

  7. Awesome! I'm a list maker but I think you've got me beat!


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