The Beautiful Art of Making Lists!

I Love making lists!  I need lists in my life to keep me on track.  My natural state is laid back, I don’t naturally stress about the little stuff which is great for my state of mind but not good for actually getting stuff done.  Being laid back along with having a less than fantastic memory makes for confusion and chaos.  I have to admit that I have sent the boys to school in fancy dress on the wrong day before!  I tend to buy and write birthday cards then forget to deliver or post them, I have also been known to turn up to appointments, parties and events on the wrong day (I got the time and venue right – to me thats 2 out of 3! – not bad!).

Because of my naturally chaotic ways I need lists and calendars.  Luckily I enjoy list making and have even been known to write a list titled ‘Lists I Need to Make.’ The great thing about keeping lists is the lovely notebooks!  You can get some beautiful recycled paper notebooks that are so tactile and a joy to write in.  I have a lot of them: I have one for Spiritual ideas, herbal remedies, inspiring quotes or poetry, plant, crystal and essential oil associations and uses, celebration ideas and concepts I want to explore (a kind of ‘book of shadows’ I suppose but I prefer to think of it as a ‘book of light’), I have one for channelled words that come to me when I paint, I have one by my bed for last thing at night lists which helps me to empty my head onto paper so that I can easily relax and go to sleep.  Then there’s one in my handbag for things I need to remember when I’m out and about: shopping lists, dates and appointments, sudden creative ideas that must be recorded before I forget them, things I must not forget to do etc., etc.  I also have one that follows me round the house, it’s usually to be found wherever I was last with an empty mug of Lady Grey tea beside it.    This is the mothership of all lists, everything important from the other notebooks finds its way into this one.  Every morning I sit with my cup of tea and write my ‘to do’ list for the day into this book.  I can then cross items off the list as I achieve them and feel a sense of satisfaction at seeing what I’ve achieved.  EVERYTHING goes on this list: household chores, work tasks, calls I need to make, emails I need to send, appointments and social events.  If I do anything more than once it gets ticked each time and if I do anything extra that’s not on the list I write it on the list and tick it off as a record of exactly what I have done with my time.  The amazing and inspiring Josie has some brilliant tips and ideas for making lists work for you including a brilliant prioritising system that I use when things are getting a bit hectic.  Check out her vlog called Getting your life and day in order (and her other vlogs too, she really does help you live the life you love).

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Is there such thing as too many notebooks?  I’m not sure there is in my world!

A friend of mine who had been through a bit of a rough patch with depression said that she felt lists were too pressuring and made her feel like she had too much to do and was failing at getting it all done. However she also said that she had so much going on in her head, too much to remember which was also pressuring.

This is where you need to be kind to yourself and make your lists work for you.

Prioritise the items on your list and pick just the ones that absolutely have to be done, don’t expect to achieve them all but celebrate what you have managed to do.  Make a  list of things to do another day so there’s no immediate pressure and write down all the stuff that’s whirring round in your head so that you are not under pressure to keep thinking about it.  I find that acknowledging all the stuff in my head by putting it in writing (whether it’s physical tasks to be done, spiritual ideas I want to contemplate, creative ideas or dates), makes it all real, but also puts it in it’s place.  Viewing the mess inside my head expressed in ink makes it seem easier to deal with, it’s easier for me to separate it all out and prioritise it.  Putting my thoughts in order on paper helps to order it in my head too.  Looking at my thoughts on paper also helps to explore all angles and find new solutions and fresh perspective.

When you make ‘to do’ lists you must also add in time for yourself.  Balance is the key here; if you have a list of boring or difficult tasks with no breaks or fun it’s going to look like a pretty boring and difficult day.  You must add in things like tea breaks, meeting friends, a phone call to a loved one, 5 minutes with a magazine or your favourite book, a walk outdoors, meditation, whatever you enjoy that helps your day feel better.  For example, my to do list starts everyday with ‘Devotion’ this is my 10 minute mediation that I do first thing every morning followed by a simple ‘salute to the sun’ yoga stretch which sets me up for the day.  This makes me feel better, more centred and calm therefore is a priority, as without this the other stuff on the list might not happen or I’d not be able to do them with a smile on my face.  Prioritising yourself occasionally, in little ways like this  sends a message to yourself and others that you are important, your happiness matters and that you deserve nurturing.  It’s surprising how much easier life seems when you feel valued like this.

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Using a notepad, pen and mug that I love, and were given to me by loved ones helps me feel valued and happy.

Daily prompt: Value  (it does have a link to list making!)

Talking of valuing yourself; I use a notepad that I love, a pen that I enjoy writing with, drink out of mugs that loved ones have made me, use book marks that were gifts. I don’t do saving things for ‘best’ or special occasions.  I try to give my best all the time so I deserve the best whenever it’s an option and these little things lift my day.  It’s easy to treat others as you would like to be treated, we do this all the time and teach our children to as well but we forget to treat ourselves as we would like others to treat us.  I am under no illusion that I deserve better than anyone else but I have come to realise that the better you treat yourself, the better others around you treat you.  Something to do with the vibes we give off I’m sure.  So don’t save that beautiful mug, pen, scarf, outfit, pair of shoes or whatever for ‘special’ – you are always special, express it all the time, not just occasionally!

Anyway – back to the lists…It doesn’t hurt for the loved ones in your life to see these lists floating about either, it models good organisation to your children and reminds your adult loved ones of everything that you manage to fit in and that you’re working hard to be all these things to all these people and keep it together for everyone whilst staying your loveable, happy self!

Lists should not be all about pressure to fit in loads of stuff but about organising ourselves so that we can do the things we need to do.  We need balance so the things we need to do should include, self development, space and time for contemplation, fun and joy.

Talking of fun and joy; Christmas lists are another whole area of enrichment in my life! Not the ‘I want this and I want that’ kind of lists, those don’t happen in our family, but I love the build up to Christmas and make lists for everything from food shopping to gift ideas and from crafts to make to fair trade/ethical shops to try  -I think Christmas lists probably deserve a whole post to themselves so I’ll add that to my ‘list of blog ideas’!

I’m off to tick a blog post off my list and have another well deserved cuppa!

Namaste x

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