lists,  productivity,  writer

a very simple list of six arguments in defense of lists

3 min read

There is a certain magic in a number of items consecutively written one below the other. A secret that only a few people know. Byatt said that lists are a form of power. Eco suggested they create culture instead of destroying it. Altucher recommends we create a habit of writing down one each morning with ideas. Allen and Carrol teach us how to make them and turn them into a productivity method. Gawande defended them as a tool to make things right. And if you dig deeper, you’ll find lists in every great thinker’s works and habits.

Here’s why.

1. Lists can clear your mind

With a lot of things going on in our heads and outside our monad shell, we have to figure out a way not to go mad. When you do a brain dump, you remove all the clutter from your mind and put it down on paper and that way, you clear your mind.

2. You get the full picture

By putting it all down on paper, you can finally see what’s going on. And you can evaluate it as if you were a third party. You can see the size of the mess or just everything that was idly floating inside your skull without much control. It gets easier for you to look at a full picture.

3. You can think better

Because you cleared your mind and because you now get a bird’s eye view of your ideas and thoughts, turned into a list, visually put on paper, now you can think and organize everything. You can look at that list and cut things that are not important, find patterns and groups and organize your thoughts. You then create small lists with items grouped as things you have to do, things you want to remember, ideas you had, and a million other opportunities. You can think now.

4. It’s a workout for your “idea muscle”

Like I said in the beginning, James Altucher recommends the habit of writing down 10 ideas each morning to develop your idea muscle. By doing that he unleashes his brain to come up with new things every day. He has lists like 10 ideas you can make new, or 10 books you can write, or 10 people you can send ideas to… It’s an amazing workout for that “muscle”.

5. You can collect things and use them later

You never know when you will need someting you learned. And you can’t decide if a certain piece of information will be relevant or not. And it’s not productive to rely on your brain all the time for that. So, another way lists can help us is by using them to collect things. Concepts from a book we read, quotes, historical facts, a timeline, books related to a topic, thoughts you had while reading, songs, characters, worlds, interesting words, methods, so. many. things.

6. It’s a good way to exercise your concision

Finally, we all tend to begin writing or speaking without much of a plan or structure. But lists can become a very strong device to make our writing and speaking more concise, effective, and structured when we need that. Because the human brain loves structures and because we’re all accustomed to storytelling for retaining information or enjoying a piece of writing or a speech, a list can work as a map to keep us on track. We usually call that kind of list an outline and it’s a lifesaver.

For example, in this post, I used a very simple list of six arguments in defense of lists with the following items:

  1. Lists can clear your mind
  2. You get the full picture
  3. You can think better
  4. It’s a workout for your “idea muscle”
  5. You can collect things and use them later
  6. It’s a good way to exercise your concision

As a final argument, like I said in a previous post about reading lists, I love when I see things crossed on a list of tasks and goals. It shows me that the progress bar is walking forward. And it makes my life easier.

Do you have another argument in defense of lists? Let me know in the comments below.

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