When I really need to get organized, I make lists. I create mental lists as well as physical lists. For some people, lists are a natural a way of staying organized and managing their everyday lives. In the language of the popular personality assessment tool, the Myers Briggs Type Indictator¹ (MBTI), it is a life tool of the “J’s” – the Judgers. J’s are people with the preference for a well-planned, orderly, and organized life. They know the power of lists.
By preference, I am not a Judger. In MBTI lingo, I am a Perceiver or “P”, with a preference for flexibility, spontaneity, and living up to the last minute. I tend to let priorities sort themselves out, usually determined by when time literally runs out. My husband asks me if I like always being late, in a hurry, or running behind. That of course, is a typical J question to a typical P. On a typical day, I prefer not to be bound by lists and schedules, until pressure becomes too high. Then, I find the stress to be uncomfortable and to my rescue – a good list!
Like me, most P’s tend to be pressure-prompted. I like making a list in times of stress because once I create a list, my brain doesn’t have to remember or hold on to whatever it is I am trying to remember, and it decreases my stress. As long as I don’t ignore or lose the list, it reduces my anxiety, and I get back on track.
This weekend, when the pressure was high, the lists started to show up. I created silly lists as well as important lists. I wrote a top 10 list of How You Know When You Have Too Many Dogs to deal with my frustrations of living in a house with five dogs. Then, I wrote a top 10 list of How You Know When You Exercise Too Much to justify taking the weekend off from exercising. I also wrote three work related lists. To round off this list-making marathon, I wrote this blog to include this list of my favorite kinds of lists and the reasons I make them!
My Favorite Lists
- Checklists for packing for trips – so I won’t forget to take something and have to buy it or do without it
- Grocery store or shopping lists– so I won’t have to go back or be harassed by my husband for forgetting things
- Errand lists – to save time and gasoline or my favorite reason, so I can send someone else to do my errands
- “To-do” lists – to set priorities, organize my day, and not take on more tasks than I can manage
- Lists of things to talk to the doctor about – so I don’t forget to discuss all the things I need to cover
- Gift lists – Birthdays, Christmas, all the special events, to not miss buying someone a gift
- “Thinking on paper” lists of all types – I think in terms of lists of bullet points; it is how I organize my thoughts
- Emergency numbers lists – in case they are lost or stolen (e.g., credit card and passport numbers)
- Bucket lists – a running list of things I want to do, see, learn, or read
- Affirmation lists – to read every day to feel good about myself
Are you a list maker? What kinds of lists would increase your effectiveness and make your life easier? Go ahead, start a list!
¹MBTI assessment is the most widely used instrument for understanding normal personality differences. It explains basic patterns of human functioning. Over 2 million people take it annually, and it is translated into 30 languages.
TripleWin’s Professional Development Program uses the Myers Briggs Type Indicator in all 6 sessions to assist in the personal and professional growth of the participants. For more information, see www.triplewin.ch.
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