List Making is in my Blood

I get it from my dad. He’s a serious list maker. For as long as I can remember – he is always making a list about something. So this Father’s Day – I’d like to honor him for passing down this quirky habit to me and highlight some of his frequently-used lists.

List for Expenses

My dad has tiny strips of paper that he uses to record every expense he has. He has tons of these little papers in his office. Whenever he pays bills — he puts on his glasses and squints at these pint-sized papers. Why he doesn’t switch to full-sized paper is beyond me. This system works for him and he lists off everything he needs to pay for the month and crosses them off when he does. I’ve told him he can do this online but he’s yet to retire his tiny papers.

Lists Before Leaving on Vacation

Any time we went on vacation – which was usually to Lake George, NY when I was growing up – my dad would make a list of all the things that needed to be done before we left. The list would usually consist of things like “turn off the air conditioning,” “put mail on hold,” “water plants.” He does this so he doesn’t have to remember to remember anything. It’s all right there – quick and easy.

Lists for Planting a Garden

My dad’s garden is his pride and joy. He grows all sorts of vegetables but is famous for his tomatoes. He plants way too many of them every year –but claims he has to because they are so good. He gives them to our friends and family and my mom makes lots and lots of tomato sauce. Every March he makes a list of all the vegetables that he wants to have in his garden for the summer. He’s very systematic about it and even draws out a map of where each vegetable will be planted. It’s pretty cute that he’s so passionate about it.

Maybe this trait is in my blood or maybe I learned it over time. Whatever the reason – it’s made me the organized, slightly neurotic, kind of obsessive compulsive and successful person that I am! Thanks Dad and Happy Father’s Day!

Shopping for Clothes with a List

This weekend my husband was cleaning out his closet – so I was inspired to do the same thing. Our approaches were quite different – he was done in 10 minutes after giving each item a quick glance.

I, on the other hand, had to try on EVERYTHING with the right shoes and undergarments. Please! How am I supposed to know if it still looks good without seeing the whole look? This process took me two hours. (I have a lot of clothes.)

Closet-Cleaning Strategy

I made five piles to keep myself organized as I went through my clothes and shoes:

1. Keep: Stuff that I have worn in the past six months and look really good on me.

2. Donate: Stuff that I really loved at one point but no longer fits, I’m tired of wearing or I’ve never actually worn (I know I’m not the only one who has done this! Right?) If you don’t know where to donate your clothes — here’s a list for “Getting Rid of Stuff.” Read more

A List for a Happy Baby

I’ve gotten to the age where everyone is either getting married or having babies. It’s like when you’re 13 and everyone is having a bar or bat mitzvah and you wish you were Jewish so you could have one. Or when you turned 16 and every girl had a “Sweet 16” and was learning to drive. The marriage and the babies stage are the same. Except…those who don’t have them are either happy without them or yearning for them. It’s a mixed bag.

Me — I’m not ready to be a mom but from what I’ve heard…your life is turned upside down by that little human — in a good way. And your priorities and entire schedule completely changes. But guess what — a list will help you cope!

My good friend Arianny is a new mom. She said that one of her friends told her about buying second-hand clothes for her baby, so she can save some money to spend on other things, like diapers.  Anyway, she wrote me this email recently:

You would be proud: I keep a list of everything I need to pack in Gabriel’s diaper bag in the side pocket of the bag. Every time I pack it to go out, I take out the little list. Everything from bottles to toys. It’s the key to a happy baby.”

Here is Arianny’s list of things that I think should be kept in diaper bags (recently updated because he just started solids):

1. Diapers

2. Wipes

3. Burp Cloth

4. Bibs – lots of them

5. Blanket

6. Bottles & Water

7. Formula

8. Pacifiers – a couple for when they drop and get dirty!

9. Change of clothes/PJs

10. Solid meal

11. Spoons

12. Toys/Teether

Don’t forget the tablet with those sing-along songs that helps baby sleep. Who knew having a baby would have so many accessories! But it makes sense — being prepared for a new task is all you need to be successful and less stressed out. You’ll even save some time too. Who cares if you need a cheat sheet…even to be a good mom. Trust me — your baby won’t mind!

List Making Will Save Your Brain

Since starting this blog I’ve realized I’m not alone in my list-making compulsion!  Many people have reached out saying they are also list freaks.  But with that said — we are actually on to something here.  List making is actually good for your brain!

I want to thank my very first guest blogger — memory expert Cynthia R. Green, Ph.D — for this entry!

Why List Making Will Save Your Brain

By Cynthia R. Green, Ph.D

Cynthia R. Green Ph.D.

Cynthia R. Green Ph.D.

Memory tools, such as list making, force us to pay closer attention to the information we need to remember, and they give that information meaning by placing it an organizational scheme. In addition, they let us control what we need to remember by giving us the opportunity to review it.

Here are my top five reasons why list making is beneficial:

1. Lists get us to pay attention to things we need to remember. Using lists, just like using any technique to boost your brainpower, will focus your attention more actively on the information you need to remember. Why? When we work with information, we pay closer attention to it.

2. Lists help us remember the things we need to remember — but not memorize. Read more