Making a List- A Powerful Tool

I am obsessed with making lists. Be it a tedious task list or my bucket list-I love lists! Walking out the door without a spiral pad of scribbles with my daily reminders is like walking out the door not dressed.

I was born into a family who made lists. The first thing I saw when I woke up was a used envelope taped to my nightstand with a list of chores I had to complete before I could go out to play. My obsession with lists started with inking my assignments on my hand, and continued with keeping a permanent pad of paper beside my bed just in case something popped into my head in the middle of the night.

Penning daily priorities is on the top of my list with a soaring satisfaction of crossing off each item once completed. In addition to using lists to organize, I exercise a list to save time and help me in stressful moments.
My time is precious, as I'm sure yours is too. I am a single mom juggling three children, full-time work, and community service. If a list can save me time, I will make one. I have lists for routine activities to avoid reinventing the wheel each time.

Out-of-Town List
When I leave my children with friends, I can print out a list of contacts and facts they need to know in an emergency. This is a list everyone with children should have.

Camping List

Our family loves to camp. I have a list on my laptop of items we need for our trip. The kids help me in gathering the items, making the preparation painless. Each time we go camping and discover something else we should have brought we add it to the list for future trips. Engaging the kids instills the same good habits my mother taught me.

Kids' Morning To-Do Lists
My daughter has an innate ability in making lists, so I never worry about her morning routine. However, getting the boys out the door can be a grueling experience. I changed the horrible habit of yelling at my boys by strategically placing on the back of the toilet a very simple list of one-word reminders, i.e. bed (meaning make your bed), teeth (meaning brush your teeth), knowing the list will be seen.

My Grocery List
Lately this is one of my favorite lists to make. By pulling up my preferred store's website, checking out the sales, and plugging in my selections-voila-the website creates my shopping list in the order of the isles in the store. How many times do you backtrack in the store because you forgot an item?

Making a list has helped me through many stressful conversations. In an emotional moment, my mind goes blank and I miss out on the opportunity to say what I wanted to say. I remember helping my father deal with colon cancer. As Power-of-Attorney, I came to the appointment armed with a list of questions which helped me focus when I was frozen with fear from the doctor's words. 

I also found a list invaluable when I was dealing with my son's disruptive behavior at school. I wanted to select the right words when talking with the principal so he did not see me as one of those blaming moms. I listed what I wanted to say, rehearsed with a friend, and referred to the list during the meeting. By using my list, I left the meeting feeling I made my point without wanting to take back my words.

Since I have been able to write my name, lists have provided me with calmness and clarity and helped capture moments to enhance my life. It does not matter if you create your lists on an iPad, in a daytimer, on a scratch piece of paper, or even on the palm of your hand. I hope you are encouraged to hem in the habit of making lists as one of your family traditions and daily friends.

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