Now is the golden age of lists. I have different kinds of lists that serve different purposes, but the main reason is summed up well with this quote:
“Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them”
Here are my favorite lists:
- Things to do for fun. I keep this list in a GoogleDoc. I’ve got camping & hiking destinations, local attractions I haven’t seen and yearly events I’d like to go to. It’s like a vacation itinerary for where I live.
- Things to buy. I keep this list as an Amazon wish list. Adding things to the list usually suffices and I don’t end up buying anything. Instead I look at the list of neat things from time to time and feel empowered by not having to own them.
- Things to buy other people. Gift ideas are hard. Whenever something comes up that a friend of family member would like, it goes on another Amazon wish list.
- Todo’s. The quintessential list. The reminders app on iPhone takes the cake for this kind of list. The ability to set push reminders based on time or location is killer.
- Music to listen to. I use playlists in Spotify marked by year and genre to dump bands and songs I’d like to listen to when I’ve got the time. Those playlists get refined into best-of playlists as I go.
- Books to read. GoodReads is my go-to for keeping track of what to read next.
- Books I’ve read. GoodReads again. I rarely buy books. Instead I keep a list of all the books I’ve ever read. This is just as pleasing to look at as a bookshelf but without the cost and space.
- Articles to read. The majority of content I read online is in Feedly the RSS reader. I use the feature that allows you to bookmark any post to read later.
- Articles I’ve read. Any articles I’ve read that I really enjoyed get posted to Twitter.
- Ideas in the moment. It’s important to capture ideas when they occur instead of holding onto them and hoping you’ll remember them later. I have a personal belief that by writing down ideas as I get them, the muse gains confidence in me that I’m taking her ideas seriously so she is willing to give me more ideas. I carry a little notebook and pen in my wallet for this purpose.
- Ideas in general. Workflowy holds multiple kinds of lists for me: story ideas, post ideas, podcast ideas, business ideas, video ideas.