Everyone knows that lists are great for ensuring you don’t forget something. Lists are used for this purpose when shopping or packing for holidays. Too think this is all that lists are good for would be a grave mistake. Did you know that lists can also serve as a great motivational tool?
When it comes to being a handy-man, my skill levels are somewhere south of average. Partly as a result of this, the number of tasks requiring attention in our house is often large. My patient and long-suffering wife recently commented on the number of outstanding items: locks to be put on cupboards, shelves to be erected, weeds to be sprayed, and on and on.
As she counted the tasks on the fingers of her left hand, then moved to the right, and back to the left, my heart sunk. It was all I could do to maintain an interested expression. And then, inspiration struck.
“Write them on a list,” I said. “I’ll look at the list every weekend and knock a couple off on Saturday and a couple on Sunday.”
She looked dubious. “If you say so,” she said. Taking pen and pencil, she wrote the list.
The next Saturday, as we ate lunch I asked her for the list. She passed it across. I scanned it quickly and pointed to a couple of jobs. “I’ll do these two this afternoon,” I said. And I did.
The tasks didn’t take too long – an hour or so – but the results were very pleasing. I have a sense of accomplishment and my wife has a smile on her face. With the list in place, I’m confident I’ll continue to make inroads over the coming weeks. Hopefully I’ll be able to cross things off faster than they’re added.
When I have a large challenge in front of me – whether it’s on the writing front, the domestic scene or at work – I find lists are a great way to get started, and the thrill of crossing out completed items provides the ongoing motivation to keep me forging ahead.
Do lists work for you?