Making lists is natural. We do it all the time. Lists help to get organised. Making lists is creative. Here two ideas of list-making processes: With one you can dig deeper into issues, the other allows you to get rid of things. Both are handy.

to do list

Making lists is the easiest and most intuitive method I know. It’s playful and fun. Making a list might not look very creative but it is, especially if you make them alone first before sharing.

As kids we felt inspired and aroused when we wrote sentences, turned half of the writing on the backside, handed the paper to the next kid who had to finish the sentence, and so on. Lists are handy reminders for things to do and not to forget.

Lists are wonderful storehouses for ideas and inspiration or even better: greenhouses making ideas grow. Lists are guiding, lists are framing. Lists make us feel lighter. There are for sure more than 22 Reasons Why We Love Lists.

Yes, I love making lists. I am a real list addict.

Here two ideas I found especially innovative and helpful:

One for creativity: List making as a tool of thought leadership

For Mark Levy lists are idea creators. He turns list writing into an ideation tool. All idea creation starts with a list:

Next time you need new ideas, first consider your topic by making a list.

Levy makes not one list but many. He starts with a first list exploring a question or idea; from where he develops more focused lists on items of the first list. Then he spreads out the different lists for a discovery tour: What emerges? What’s clear? What’s surprising? And so he digs deeper and deeper. New ways of seeing things, connecting ideas and thoughts might bring smaller or bigger breakthroughs.

One for satisfaction: Two lists every morning

Too much on your plate? Make your planning with two different lists – the to-do list and the NO-list. These two lists will guide you safely through overfilled days. Thank you Ankur Sethi for sharing this smart and simple trick of Peter Bregman.

Here is how it goes:

List 1: Your Focus List

What are you trying to achieve? What makes you happy? What’s important to you? Design your time around those things. Because time is your one limited resource and no matter how hard you try you can’t work 25/8.

List 2: Your Ignore List

To succeed in using your time wisely, you have to ask the equally important but often avoided complementary questions: what are you willing not to achieve? What doesn’t make you happy? What’s not important to you? What gets in the way?

Catching up with all that is coming in is impossible. I always made lists to get focused. To have a ‘no-list’ is definitely a relief.

What is easier than making lists?


List making as a tool of thought leadership by Mark Levy:

Two lists every morning, by Peter Bregman: