Lists appeal to our innate tendency to categorize information, as well as help us feel less stressed, writes Maria Konnikova in The New Yorker.
Seeing information as a list makes you feel less overwhelmed by a task so it’s easier to complete, which in turn makes you happier, says Konnikova, New York Times bestselling author of “The Confidence Game.”
Here are 26 list ideas to get you started.
1. Recipes you want to try: Pull this out the next time you’re stuck on what to make for dinner for instant inspiration.
2. Movies you want to see: You’ll never have to sit through the “I don’t care, what to do you want to watch?” scenario again.
3. Books you want to read: Next time you’re reaching for another predictable beach read, look up that acclaimed novel-of-the-year, Oprah-recommended one instead.
4. TV shows you want to watch: You’ll be prepared for when you binge-watch your way through “Stranger Things” and need a new addiction now.
5. Restaurants you want to try: Keep a running list of all the places you want to try and you’ll never be left without a suggestion when deciding where to eat tonight. Bonus points if you organize it by type of cuisine.
6. Places to see: Maybe you’ve always wanted to visit the Great Wall of China, or even just the Statue of Liberty. Once you have a list, you’ll be motivated to plan a trip.
7. Cities and countries you want to visit: Perhaps there’s not a specific landmark you’re dying to see, but you’ve always wanted to eat pasta in Italy or drink wine in France. Your list will remind of which trips you really need to take.
8. Places to visit in your hometown: It’s not as exciting as jet-setting across the globe, but you’ll have plenty of things to do instead of vegging out on your couch next Saturday.
9. Passwords: Never forget if your Amazon password is SoccerStar12 or Socc3rStar again.
10. Daily to-do list: Keep track of everything that’s on your plate for the day. Plus, nothing feels better than crossing something off.
11. Done list: Looking back at your daily accomplishments will help you learn how to be more productive — and provides an automatic ego boost.
12. Bucket list: Everything you want to do before you die, from big things such as getting married or climbing Mt. Everest, down to small things such as baking the perfect chocolate chip cookie.
13. Short-term goals: What do you want to accomplish this month?
14. Long-term goals: What do you hope to accomplish in the next five to 10 years?
15. Professional accomplishments: Keep a list of all of those projects executed and compliments given. Aside from making you feel good when you’re having an off-day, this list will be invaluable when it comes time to update your resume.
16. Criteria for your next job: The more hours, days, and years you spend at work, the more you know what you do and don’t need to be your most effective, most productive self in both this position and the next.
17. DIY projects: Pinterest might be a great aspirational site, but this will help you keep track of the projects you actually want to complete, like organizing your old photos or painting the furniture in the guest room.
18. Home improvement projects: Writing down everything that needs to be done will allow you to prioritize what you should tackle first.
19. Grocery list: Knowing exactly what you need to buy — and sticking to it — will not only save you money, it will help you resist that box of cookies you know you don’t need.
20. Drugstore list: We’ve all gone into Target for toothpaste and come out with $100 worth of items before. Keep a running list of the things you need, so you
can avoid the inevitable $20 drug store “cover charge.”
21. Wardrobe updates: Whether it’s a necessity, like a new winter coat, or something fun, like trendy sneakers, having an idea of which items you’re hunting for before you go shopping will help you avoid impulse buys, ultimately saving you money.
22. Important dates: Everyone loves when you remember their birthday or anniversary, so keep a list of your loved ones’ significant dates and you’ll never miss a chance to make their day.
23. Due dates: If you’re even the slightest bit forgetful, writing down when you need to return that shirt by or when those frozen chicken breasts expire can save you stress in the long run.
24. Favorite quotes: You’ll feel inspired all over again every time you read through your list. If you’re still looking for a favorite, here are a few great quotes from Albert Einstein and Richard Branson to get you started.
25. Things you’re thankful for: Revisit this on your toughest days to remind yourself how great your life is.
26. Things that make you happy: Whenever you’re sad, you’ll automatically give yourself several reasons to smile.
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