The Power of Lists
Alright! Well, it is a hellllla chilly morning after an even colder night, but I’m toasty in my RV with the furnace on thanks to my fat propane tank and enjoying a wonderful view of the ocean this morning! I am particularly happy right now though because I just finished two things: my first cup of Bulletproof Coffee (wish I was getting paid for that plug) and my Morning Routine.
LISTS MAN! They are very powerful. What are the benefits of lists? Here’s a few I value most:
- They take the hard work out of the action
How? Because the hardest thing for so many people is starting. When you can simply read and do, you’re much more likely to skip the thought, the doubt and all the other bullshit that goes on in your head prior to the action.
- You can make them very specific to remove unnecessary thought
My favorite list is my Morning Routine, which I’ve broken down the points with such detail that it’s easy for me to wake up and follow the steps even while still 70% asleep. I’m not sure how it is for others, but it takes me a good 20-40 minutes to fully wake up, and in the past I’ve more or less wasted this time. Not anymore!
- Repetition produces the best results
There’s no argument among honest people that consistency over time produces the best results, and esponentially increases what you get in return. With lists, you can make sure that you’re staying on point, day in and day out, with very little thought and no guesswork.
- Accomplishment! Serotonin!
Every time you complete something and mentally check it off your list, your body squirts a little serotonin into your blood stream and when it hits your brain, you’re bound to smile. Or at the very least, feel better about yourself. On top of this, your mental health and spiritual strength improves/increases over time.
I could keep going, but those are the first big 4 that come to mind.
So many people go through every day of their lives just wingin it, their only guidance for routine being the highway they have to commute on to get to the office and the company structure around them. In other words, they are letting the world around them dictate their actions, rather than really thinking about their own actions and doing them consciously with full awareness. Why??
Well, being in the present, doing things with full awareness, these are things that are not that easy. Often we think we are fully present, but in reality, so very very few of us really are. And one minute we can be mostly here, while in another, we’re 20 years ago. And each thing we do when we are not fully present will suffer in quality or depth. Ever tried to talk answer your girlfriend when she asks you the “does this _____ make me look fat” question and you’re distracted by the game or some other thing you’re more interested in? Hell hath no fury… Silly example but you get the point.
For me, lists are like a crutch: they help me do the things I really should be doing and ignore the things that waste time, without having to put much thought into it and be very present. Over time, though, I start to see the results, and I get interested even more in what is producing the best results, and I look more closely at my list I’ve made, and I learn from myself. I can then better understand myself, improve my list and at the same time, practice being more aware and present. Win Win Win all around baby.
So, use lists. Make yourself a Morning Routine, an Evening Routine, a Sunday Routine, a Daily Morning Checklist for your job, a Weekend Must Do list, a Follow Up Every Month for the people that are most important to you, and so on. Lists are one of the best ways to hold yourself accountable and be more productive. And the best part is they are so easy to make and have with us everywhere, thanks to the age of smartphones and cloud syncing.
For Apple users, I suggest using your Notes app, and making sure it is synced with iCloud, so you have it on your iPad and Mac, if you have them. If you use an iPhone but a Windows computer, you can access many things from your phone via iCloud.com, such as your Notes, and thus be able to access and edit your lists from any device that has a browser.
If you’re android, the stock notes app works well, or any of the plethora of notes apps in the android store. If you’re going to get a new one, just make sure it is cloud based and you can access it from anywhere, and set it up immediately and before you start making the lists, so you never have the excuse that you couldn’t access your list.
Like a pilot methodically running down their pre-flight checklist because they know that their life, and the lives of their passengers, depend on it, you should also dedicate that level of importance to your lists. The degree of exactness, vigor and consistency you put in will determine the degree of results you get out.