We’ve all used shopping lists and made a checklist of our New Year’s resolutions. Shopping lists work to keep us on track at the store—resolutions, maybe not quite as much—but it turns out there are more powerful uses for lists that can turn your day around.
For Feeling Accomplished and Clear-Headed
Inherently, we are attracted to lists as a way to prioritize. According to Fast Company, lists help us reduce the amount of decisions we need to make in order to get things done, making it easier to actually get started on something. By breaking down complex tasks—or overwhelming mountains of work we need to accomplish—into a simple list form, we can more easily see at a glance what needs to be done and reduce tension and pressure.
Then there’s the stress-relief qualities of list-making. The ability to see all your thoughts and responsibilities in one place and begin to take action on them is an anxiety-buster in itself, and will make actually tackling the to-dos simpler. (Get some bonus points by creating an alphabetized list!)
For Keeping You Motivated
Dopamine is a chemical in your brain that makes you feel happy—similar to caffeine and other drugs. What does this have to do with lists? A lot. When you make a checklist and start completing items on it, your brain releases dopamine, making you feel happy and accomplished.
The action of checking the box (or filling it in, or striking through the item, or whatever your preference) is what releases this chemical. Got some things to do? Make a list and take it from the top! And remember to keep it simple. It’ll boost your day and put a spring in your step.
For Inspiring Thankfulness
Ever feel down in the dumps? We’ve all been there. And while making a list about it won’t fix everything, creating a list of something can really make you feel better: just start writing all the things you are grateful for.
Can’t think of anything? Start with the fact that you’re alive, you’re breathing and you have a chance today to impact someone’s life for the better. Even if you only have those three things, that’s a beautiful start to a beautiful list.
How do you feel about lists? Did this convince you to start making some of your own, or are you already a list writer? Tweet us @feather_mag and tell us all about your listing habits!