Are you a List Nerd?

Ooo I do love a good list! But what happens when you get list fatigue?  Christmas is a time for lists.  Actually weddings are too. And wedding season is coming so what happens when two lists collide? Overwhelm, that’s what.

Often we experience the tyranny of list-making. Have you ever gone to the super market with your list and then forgot to buy the very thing you mean to get?

[Actually, I love lists so much I am even reading a book about lists. It’s called the Next Thing on my list by Jill Smolinksi (2007), and is a ripping yarn about a woman who completes someones else’s bucket list. It’s a positive, transforming and uplifting story about how our protagonist moves from a passive responder to creator in her own life. Highly recommended for List Nerds like myself.]

Lists are every where, especially on blogs, where we have The Top 5 ‘This and That’s’ all the time. The topic of this blog post is how to make lists work for you. If you are the kind of person who puts things on your to do list that you have already done in order for you to have the pleasure of ticking them of, then this post is for you.

I will also reveal a few of my favourite lists, and some photos from my favourite photo list.

Here is Number 1 on My Favourite Breakfasts list.


What is the purpose of lists?

Most people would say they make lists to make are they keep track of everything they need to do.

What if lists had a different purpose?

What if the purpose of lists was to remind us of what we enjoy and what supports us?

Recently gratitude lists have been doing the rounds on Facebook. Research on happiness Counting Blessings Versus Burdens states that people who actively focus on the good things in life report increased feelings of happiness and satisfaction with interpersonal relationships (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology) 2003, Vol. 84, No. 2, 377–389. So its good to count blessings and notice what’s good in our lives.

Recently I held a workshop on dealing with Conflict at Work, and suggested that clients make a playlist of songs that are inspiring. This was a strategy suggested by the late Debbie Ford in her awesome book Courage – Overcoming Fear and Igniting Self-Confidence (2012).

I find it particularly helpful to put on my courage playlist and go for a run. The endorphins released during the run combined with listening to the music create a positive effect. I do this whenever I need to channel my inner feisty side.
Here’s my Courage Play List, and yes, the 80’s do feature strongly:

  1. Shake it off – Taylor Swift
  2. Stronger – Kelly Clarkson
  3. Respect – Aretha Franklin
  4. Moving on Up – M People
  5. Return of the Mack – Mark Morrison
  6. Hit me with your Best Shot – Pat Benatar
  7. Live and Let Die – Guns and Roses
  8. I can’t go for that – Hall and Oates

I also like to watch movies that inspire me, especially ones where people face great troubles and then overcome them. Here’s a list of some of my favourite movies, and I recommend that you watch them, and then add to this list yourself.

Movies that Inspire:

  1. Legally Blond – clever blond girl goes to Harvard and has to overcome mean people, and boost her sense of self belief in order to succeed.
  2. The Guard – curmudgeonly Irish policeman does a very brave act.
  3. It’s a Wonderful Life – a classic and here’s why. A man thinks he has never made a difference in life, and then has the chance to experience his home town as if he has never lived.
  4. The Intouchables. Bit of a bad boy comes to work as a carer for a tetraplegic and they transform each other’s lives
  5. Pitch Perfect. New girl makes good as a singer in a college glee club.
  6. Any episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Did I mention she slays vampires?

Note that these lists aren’t to do lists. They just remind me that other people struggle with stuff too, and overcome.

People keep all sorts of lists to support them

Some lists are very good fun to keep and to share – if you were on a desert island what would you bring (Vogue mag, mascara) type list, or Top 5 hottest movie stars.

Here’s Number 1 on my Favourite Bus Stop List, and My Favourite Letter Box List.

IMG_2311    IMG_1823

So how about this instead for a Christmas shopping list?

Instead of a Present List, try making a list  of all the people you love, and what you appreciate about them. Focus on this for a little while, and carry the list around in a pocket or wallet. Pull it out now and again, maybe when you are on the bus at your favourite bus stop. This will warm up your brain to noticing the good things in your life. A wise person said “What you put your attention on, grows”. Then, how surprised will you be to notice the perfect present for that person will appear, and your list just completes itself?

Happy Christmas!


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