For the past two weeks I’ve been posting on why and why not to follow Top Lists. You remember…The Coldest Places in the US, The Most Polite City in the World, and on and on.
While encouraging you to make up your own Top Lists, which are not only customized, but help focus your own priorities, I started thinking about list-making. We all do it, don’t we? Some of us are more addicted to this tool than others.
I consider myself an inveterate list-maker. Not only do I have lists on various current business and personal topics, but I have lists of lists. In college, I had a woman ask me if I ever added things to my “to do” list that I had already done, just to be able to immediately cross the item off the list and feel incredibly productive. I quietly admitted that I did, only to find out that everyone in the conversation did as well!
But what about those other lists that aren’t things that you need to do, but things you’ve already done?
Some people keep bucket lists of things yet to accomplish in this life. I ran across a reference to an online site that helps users plan big-picture lists. It’s called 43 things, and claims to be the largest goal-setting community. It takes its philosophy from research that proves that writing down our goals helps us accomplish them. The number 43 is arbitrary, but the list founders feel that sharing goals also helps us complete them–and if we can’t come up with 43 things we want to accomplish, then we can get ideas from others on the site.
Then there’s a site called Meosphere which helps us record the experiences in our lives. Want to keep track of all the Broadway plays you’ve seen or list the Ben & Jerry’s Dearly Departed Flavors you’ve eaten? Meosphere has a list that can be checked off so that you don’t forget all those details.
Along these lines is a book called: List Your Self: Listmaking as the Way to Self-Discovery. This book/journal goes beyond keeping track of all those book group books that you’ve read over the years to offering categories that take some personal insight. “List All the People You Wish You Hadn’t Trusted” and “List Those Moments in Nature that Reminded You of Your Connection to the Big Picture” are a couple examples of how these lists go deep into the experiences that shape our lives.
Why should you start making more lists than your already busy life demands? For me it’s a bit of catharsis and clearing my head space. I have lots and lots of ideas for things I want to do. By getting them down on paper, I get them out of my head, knowing that I won’t lose the thought and can come back to it when I’m ready. Also, as part of a resume-writing exercise I did once, I listed everything in my business and personal life that I was proud to have accomplished. I go back to this list occassionally, when I think I haven’t done enough with my life, and realize that my life has been very rich and full of adventure.
What’s the most interesting/provacative/unusual list that you’ve every made? Did it look something like this?