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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Power of Lists

My lovely wife was going through some old paperwork and discovered a few of our old lists. These were from several years ago. They were about things we planned on doing. It was nice to see how many of those things we actually got done.

One list was titled, “Brand new economy and fun adventure plan.” As you can imagine, it had more on it than “pick up a loaf of bread.”

This big master list had a lot of pie in the sky stuff, along with very practical things. The overall theme went something like this: if we do some radical changes with the way we live and spend money, we'll be able to travel and have more adventures.

Here's the thing, we maybe looked at the lists once or twice soon after we wrote them. Even though we weren't consciously following our lists, we accomplished most of the items on them anyway. It's as if the very act of writing things down put in an order with the universe. Universe delivered.

One interesting item on the list. “Make it clear to friends and family that we really want and need to do this so please don't complain when you come here and see us living conservatively.” I guess that takes care of the “what will people think” part of our plans.

I use lists all the time. Usually for more mundane things. Before we head on our trip, I'll have a list of everything that has to get packed. There will be a separate list on all the steps necessary to winterize the house. By writing things down, I won't have to think about them later. It's so much easier to check things off a list than to try and figure out what comes next.

Picture this. You were excited the night before and maybe didn't get as much sleep as you wanted. Some last minute problems come up and have to be dealt with. Distractions interrupt your train of thought as you try and get everything done. Fortunately, you have a list. Without it, it's easy to forget something critical.

Maybe it's time to make another dream list. There's a lot of ideas floating around in my head. The thing to do is to make a list and lose it in my wife's pile of old paperwork. In a few years we can discover it again and be amazed how well things worked out.



  1. You're right that simply writing something down gives a person direction. I've heard it said that writing something down is the difference between a plan and just a dream.

  2. Hadn't heard that, but it makes sense. Works for me.

  3. Everyone should have a "dream" list.

  4. Oh, I forget to say that at my age my dream list has turned into a bucket list.

    1. Hope you've checked off a lot of items -and have enough left to make life interesting.

  5. I do yearly goals and I share them on my blog. It's a lot harder to wiggly away from accomplishing them when I know others are watching to see if I get them done.
    I don't always get them done and some of them are kind of small and easy to accomplish, but I find I'm always motivated to work on those goals. For the ones that don't get done I just move them to the top of next years list.