What’s a better way to make create systems that’ll set you up for a year of success than making lists? Lists might seem tedious, but it’s a fantastic way to brainstorm ideas and create an organizational structure that makes your life simpler, especially in the long run.
I’m all about simplifying life, instead of complicating it.
Here are some ideas for lists that can help you build systems throughout the entire year, and maybe even years to come. Of course, you’ll keep updating your lists and systems throughout, but it’ll give you a starting point and a little structure so you can feel organized and put together with little effort.
Instead of waiting until the last minute to pack everything and freaking out about whether you have everything an hour before you need to leave, create a packing list ahead of time.
Any time you forget an item on your list, add to it.
From the ingredients you always need in stock to the actual meals you want to plan for the week––write them down so you have them on hand. Especially for when you hit the grocery store. There’s nothing worse than roaming aimlessly around the grocery store, trying to decide what you even came there for.
Morning routine list
How are you setting the tone for your day? If you struggle with morning routines, create an action plan––step by step from the moment you wake up until you leave the house for work. What time will you wake up? What’s the first thing you’ll drink? What will you have for breakfast? Create a realistic plan, and maybe start with three things you’ll do every single morning.
Planning out the next day
How you end your day is almost as important as how you begin it. See if you can do a few things at night that make your morning easier. Can you set out workout clothes the night before? Plan what you’ll get done the next day? Decision fatigue can get the best of us, so planning ahead might be the best thing you can do to set your day up for success.
What makes you feel like your best self, especially on your worst day? Make a list, and when you’re in need, follow the list as best you can. When you’re having a bad day, sometimes the last thing you want to do is think about caring for yourself––even when that’s exactly what you need.
A “get your sh*t together” day is a scheduled day to get all the things done that you struggle to tackle on a regular basis. This can include errands like getting your monthly brow wax or getting a car wash or getting laundry done. Create a list of the things that you neglect regularly and have it in a GYST list for the designated day where you want to feel mega accomplished.
Goals and intentions
Write down your goals and break them into quarterly goals. Really, focus only on the quarter you’re in, because life always changes and I find it’s easiest to focus on a smaller timeframe.
Stuff to do while you wait
Instead of mindlessly scrolling, you could be productive. If you arrive early (which is an excellent habit to get into), and the other person isn’t on time, there’s a lot you could be doing. You could answer emails, organize emails, post to instagram, plan something, ask Siri a really important question like, “what do you dream about?”
Commitments you want to keep to yourself
I’ve heard it said that confidence comes from keeping your personal commitments. We so often let ourselves down, more than anyone else we know, and it’s time for us to boost our confidence by keeping our commitments. To keep yourself reminded, make a list of the things you will do to keep yourself a priority in your life and honor yourself. We’re all human, so don’t beat yourself up if you falter every once in awhile, but know that these are the areas where you can show up for yourself.
Whenever a holiday comes up or your birthday, do you struggle with what to say you want? End up saying things that you spontaneously think up, instead of the few items that you really want? Keeping an ongoing wishlist can help you be more intentional about the key items that you truly need. And if something stays on your list for several months, maybe it’s actually worth the splurge.
Positive words and phrases to replace the more negative ones
The way we speak has a great effect on us, so create a list of words to use instead of the ones you feel negative when you say. Instead of saying life is “busy” maybe you say life is “full” and “fulfilling” and make sure that you’re speaking truth. Instead of saying “sorry” as your default to everything, you switch to “thank you” instead. Like, “thank you for waiting” instead of “sorry I’m late.” It’s a simple switch, but not easy to remember so keeping a list can help remind you.
Plants you have and how to take care of them
Take photos of your plants and give instructions on how to keep them thriving.
- What type of plant
- How often to water and how to tell when it needs water
- How much sunlight
- Signs of dying
Create a mega list of everything that’s on your mind, everything that needs to get done, and so on. It’s the list of all the things in your head that circle around again and again, but you can’t get to immediately. Write down all those pesky to-dos and sort them out later.
Coworkers and friends
Make note of the things that your friends express an interest in. This will make it super easy for you to pick up a coffee for your coworker or know exactly what to get your friend for her birthday. It’s not easy to remember in the moment, and far easier on you when you take note.
Weekly review questions
Ask yourself some key questions each week to evaluate how you’re doing and the progress you’re making toward your goals.
Here are the two key questions you can ask yourself to keep it simple:
- What did I do well this week?
- What could I improve next week?
Instead of writing down everything you need to do, write down everything you’ve gotten done. Often, I’ll do productive tasks that aren’t on my to-do list and end the day feeling like I’ve been unproductive and it’s not entirely true. Sometimes priorities change throughout the day, and it makes you feel better when you keep track of the progress you’ve made, even if it’s not what you set out to do.
One of my favorite things about the Unbound Planner (full disclosure: we’re affiliates, and have totally loved this small planning company for years now!) is that it has a section for managing your projects throughout the year. It’s kind of hard to visualize how to get from the beginning to the end of a goal, especially when it’s a big one. But when you divide your goal into sections and give yourself small deadlines, you’ll meet your goal before you know it.
If you’re in the market for a new planner that supports you’re goals and are interested in using the Unbound project planning system, for a limited time, they’re offering free shipping with the code SHIPFREE.
Financial planning list
You can include your budget and financial goals, and most importantly––keep track of the stuff you’re saving for and your progress.
Best spots in your city / cities you plan to visit
How many times do your coworkers tell you a spot you should hit up and you totally forget when it comes time to choose a date spot? Make a running list, and plan out more dates with your significant other or friend group. It’ll make you more intentional in the most fun way.
What lists would you add to this list?