Throw the digital apps, planners, and gadgets to the wayside and create lists instead. In this post, you’ll discover 15 lists to make to organize your whole life. You’ll never stumble across a simpler organization strategy than this one.
I know I’m not the only one who prefers good old-fashioned lists when I need to get things done. When the holidays roll around, it’s time to travel, complete weekly routines, or run errands; I quickly grab a sheet of notebook paper to organize my thoughts.
Getting everything out of your head and onto paper makes arduous tasks a breeze.
All items are clear and concise, and in synchronous order. With this method, it’s impossible to miss things on your packing list, forget daily chores, or miss any important meetings and appointments.
There’s a plethora of things we can use lists for, but there are only a few that you really need.
How do you organize your whole life?
Make routines mandatory rather than an option. People who maneuver through life with a rhythm at a steady pace are often more organized than those who wake up with no schedule to follow.
The concept of time doesn’t matter when your day today doesn’t include daily routines. Staying up late or sleeping in for hours can easily suck those precious 24-hours away.
It’s better to follow a schedule.
Sure, it’s okay to relax while on vacation, or take the weekend to decompress and go with the flow. But developing the habit of setting and following daily routines throughout the year will have your life on point.
There’s no guessing or wasting time on meaningless tasks when you have productive days that include a morning routine, work schedule, cleaning routine, self care routine, and an evening routine.
Your week gets filled with important things to do when you’re intentional about how you live it. You know what’s next and aren’t letting time get away from you. Creating lists can help with time management, but will also keep your entire life organized when used correctly.
How do you organize your life with lists?
Lists are versatile and easy to create. You can write them or digitally create them from the palm of your hand.
They are simple to follow and a great resource to reference anytime you need to reset. There’s no point in keeping all your thoughts and task lists all scrambled in your head.
There’s a cognitive benefit to writing out what you need to get done on paper. According to CNN, to-do lists reduce anxiety, provide structure and a sense of accomplishment daily.
Lists are like our own set of instructions for the week. No matter the project or event, they provide mental relief, and we create them on a whim.
Think about how you would use lists throughout the week or how you already use them as part of your daily routine.
There are several things to consider when you have a list of things to organize.
The tools used to create lists don’t particularly matter. Some people use bullet journals, planners, notepads, or apps with cool reminders to notify them to stay on track.
There are various types of formats for lists. Bulleted. Checklists. Numbered and unnumbered. Arabic numeral for outlines. Charts. Lined and jotted notes.
By all means, choose the best format for the lists that you’re creating. Whether it’s a meeting agenda, an essay outline, contact list, or for writing out your monthly goals, the options are endless.
How To Use Lists In Your Daily Activities?
Habits make many things we do throughout the day intuitive. We don’t need a list to review unless it’s a brand new routine we’re putting into place.
Most people know what they’ll do when they wake up every morning. Some common things are brewing a fresh cup of coffee, taking a shower, watching the morning news, brushing your teeth, going for a morning run, reading or journaling.
They may do a combination of these things in no particular order before they start their day.
While all routines aren’t intuitive, most habits are formed overtime, because of self-discipline and consistency.
What do you need to remain consistent?
A plan. One that often involves a strategy or a list. There are various types of lists you can use to stay organized in life.
- Checklists are great for party preparation, buying groceries, gift shopping, creating weekly plans, packing, or doing self care routines.
- Numbered lists are perfect for creating step-by-step instructions for recipes, housework, special guides, developing goals, and manifestation.
- Bullet lists are helpful for holiday planning, creating daily reminders, assigning household chores, or following a daily cleaning routine.
We can also use lists for creating school or work schedules, budget management, and enhancing productivity.
Notebooks, notepads, or a sheet of paper and pen are what I like to grab when making a quick short and simple list.
Sometimes, I’ll use a sticky note, the Notes app on my phone, or bullet journal for any lists I plan to use soon, or any I need to reference on the go.
I also like that lists don’t take up too much digital space and are easy to dispose of.
While I love a good planner, a lot of the bells and whistles they come with are a waste of space. Some are too heavy to store in a tote bag, and come with distracting layouts that make it hard to focus.
Phones are digital resources that are jam-packed with interactive productivity apps to make various types of lists. Sure, it’s convenient to use applications like Notion or Trello, but functionally they aren’t the best for list making.
They require too much unnecessary information and steps to take when you can jot down a few notes and call it a day.
One perk of digital lists is the ability to share them with others. With one push of a button, your list gets shared with a group of people instantly and it’s saved automatically.
Although easy to create, lists written on paper aren’t shareable electronically, and if you misplace your lists or throw them away, you must start from scratch.
15 lists to make to organize your whole life
1. Gift Shopping
Invites for weddings, birthdays, anniversary dinners, and retirement parties get sent throughout the year. The warmer months are usually more popular than others. Events pick up in the Summer with graduations, engagement parties, fundraisers, galas, and baby showers.
All these special occasions have one thing in common – gift shopping! When you’re attending birthday parties, graduations, and wedding showers back to back, keeping track of what you need to purchase for your close friends, coworkers, and family can get pretty hectic.
Dates may overlap and the last thing you want to do is search high and low for gifts at the last minute.
Well a gift shopping list can be the resolution that you need.
Your gift list should include names, the special occasion, stores, and the type of gifts you’d like to buy for each.
Keep the lists sorted by date so you know which event to shop for first. I prefer taking a weekend to get all my shopping out of the way, whether I’m purchasing items online or in-store.
A gift list will always keep your life organized, especially around Christmas. Write the names of everyone you’ll be purchasing gifts for (pets included!) on one sheet of paper and start your holiday shopping early.
No headaches or last-minute dashes to the mall, because you forgot stocking stuffers, Secret Santa, and grab bag gifts goal-friends!
Thank me later!
2. Back To School
As most Mommies already know, the end of Summer can get crazy.
There’s no more staying up late and sleeping in for the kiddos when the first day of school is around the corner.
Use a back to school list to prepare or get left behind when all the shelves are empty and you can’t stock up on school supplies for the year.
College students move on or off-campus and have to fight with crowds to get all of their dorm room essentials.
Back to school lists for elementary, high school, and college students are a must-have for this very reason. You don’t have to wait until the end of Summer to get ready for school in the Fall.
With a list of essential items for every grade level, you can stock up at the beginning of the year, re-use supplies from the previous academic year, and pick up what you need along the way.
Skip the hassle and create that supply list for uniforms, books, backpacks, clothes, and dorm decor. Stay ten steps ahead of the game and never get caught up in the back to school rush again.
3. Weekly Menus
A pet peeve of mine is taking multiple trips to the grocery store throughout the week. Now I prepare meals and plan menus on Sundays to pick up all the food items that I need.
A simple grocery list suffices. Write out all the meals your family will consume for the week. Gather recipes, make a list of the ingredients needed for each meal and any other essential items you’ll need to re-stock, like water, orange juice, milk, protein, fruits and vegetables.
Approaching meal planning this way has kept my life organized with less time spent in traffic, going from store to store, and scrambling after work to cook up hearty meals for dinner.
Use your weekly menu as a guide for meal preparation each day. This strategy not only helps with managing your time, but leads to healthier food options overall.
4. Daily To-Do List
Keep track of your time and stay organized daily with a scrap sheet of paper filled with tasks to complete.
Daily to-do lists are the best way to implement a time blocking strategy (internal link) to boost your productivity throughout the day.
A to-do list should include a short list of important tasks, events, and appointments that need to be completed for the day. Make sure you only add your top priorities to the list.
Reference your weekly goals, work schedule, and home cleaning routines to decide what to focus on each day.
There’s a direct correlation between daily to-do lists and boosting productivity. All it takes is one list per day to see results.
Goal-friends, you’ve got this in the bag!
5. Password List
What doesn’t require login credentials anymore?
We have passwords for phones, work laptops, job applications, emails, online retail stores, social media accounts, utility and residential accounts. The list goes on and on.
I never remember my password unless I make the same password for all my accounts, and that only results in a security risk.
Technology has taken over and so have passwords. It’s nearly impossible to keep track of all the login information that we use on a day-to-day basis. So, why not keep a list locked in your drawer or on an excel sheet with all the passwords you need in one place?
Trust me, it’s one of the top 15 lists to make to organize your life. Try it!
6. Household Chores
Weekly house chores are one of the most important lists to make to keep your life organized.
Your home should be your sanctuary. A place where you can return from work, travel adventures, and running errands to relax in spaces that bring you peace and joy.
But, this isn’t always possible is it?
Life can get hectic. Sometimes, dirty dishes pile up in the sink. Clutter accumulates out of nowhere, and laundry gets backed up for days.
Eliminate the stress of returning home to filth and unpleasant odors in your home with a simple list of house chores to complete every day.
7. Reading List
For all the reading addicts or people with reading goals, don’t let shiny object syndrome deter you from getting to the last chapter of your current read.
I used to get so distracted with BookTok, BookTube, and digital library loans that I never finished the books I purchased and ran out to get new releases and book recommendations.
My reading goals never got met for the year and my pockets took a hit as well.
Buying books can quickly become an addiction. Reading is a great hobby to have, but if you’re only getting through a few chapters or reading multiple books at once, you’ll never reach your goals.
Stick with one book at a time and write a list of 10 books you’d like to pick up when you’re done. Don’t add anymore books to the list until you’ve finished all 10 on your list, then give yourself permission to move on to the next.
8. Life Goals
A little direction on this rollercoaster we call life can’t hurt. Jotting down some personal life goals can keep you on track. We all want certain things out of life, whether that’s marriage, children, to live in a big city, career success, or owning your own business.
List what you want to bring to fruition on a blank sheet of paper. Keep the list short and concise. Once complete, post it in your room in a place where you can see it or get to it easily.
A life goals list will motivate you anytime you’re feeling lost or need to change your trajectory. Revisit the list often to ensure you stay on track.
9. Emergency Contact List
Life happens when we least expect it, so it’s best to be prepared.
Emergency contact lists can be helpful in so many ways.
When your life is in danger, it’s helpful to have a list of people to call on for additional aid. You may not have their contact information memorized. People who come to help will need to know who to reach out to as well.
Emergency contact lists shouldn’t be long, but filled with reliable sources. The list should include only those who will come to your aid no matter the circumstances
It’s not a list of close friends you picked randomly. These are emergencies that require abrupt responses. An emergency contact list covers all bases when you’re stuck in a bind.
You can store your emergency contact list on your phone; post it on the family bulletin board, or keep it tucked away in a drawer for safe-keeping, whichever you prefer.
10. Self Care Checklist
Now this list is a must-have. Using a daily self-care checklist will keep you looking good, smelling good, and feeling good.
Self care checklists are a vital part of the systems to organize your life. Sometimes, we neglect ourselves to ensure everyone around us is doing okay.
We give hours of our time to care for and counsel others.
We’re the first person our family and friends call on when they’re in need.
We ignore our body’s signals that tell us it needs a little more tender love and care.
A self-care checklist serves as a checks and balances system for the week. Instead of checking in on everyone else, you can check in with yourself to ensure you’re doing the following things to stay fit, healthy, and mentally sound.
- Practice good hygiene (brush your teeth, bathe, wash and comb your hair
- Eat a healthy meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and eat fruit for snacks
- Limit social media usage to 1-2 hours per day
- Meditate, answer weekly self-reflection questions, and journal throughout the week
- Move your body at least 30-60 minutes when you wake up every morning
Self-care checklists are some of the most important lists to make to organize your whole life.
11. Budget List
I used to designate one weekend out of every month before bills were due to get all of my finances in order.
Although I used auto-pay for most of my expenses, gathering all of my information to pay rent, utilities, phone bills, internet, insurance, and investments turned into a disorganized event each time. One I dreaded every month until I developed a budget list of my own.
I no longer had to search for billing statements or balance my checkbook at the same time.
My budget list included all of my bills, personal expenses, liabilities, and savings that I needed to deposit into my bank accounts. Now I open up my budget list spreadsheet and no longer feel overwhelmed with the process.
12. Bucket List
There are many places to see, things to learn, and personal aspirations people would love to fulfill in life. Bucket lists are handy for keeping a record of each.
A bucket list is a list of experiences, achievements, or activities that a person hopes to undertake within their lifetime. You’ll often find goals and dreams on these lists, too.
Your bucket list should be intentional and align with your purpose. Write your dreams on paper so that they can manifest in your life.
13. Decluttering List
The great thing about decluttering is that you don’t have to do it every day.
Make getting your house organized simple by only decluttering a few times a year.
Each season, we accumulate things such as clothing items, excess furniture, gadgets, and paper documents we no longer need.
We can use a decluttering list to take inventory of our personal living spaces. Add any valuable items, documents, and self-care essentials you use daily to the list. Then take a gander at your closet, pantry, office, and bathroom and jot down the things you can’t part with.
After completing your decluttering list, go to work by clearing out anything that didn’t make the list.
14. Important Events and Appointments
Events, appointments, leisure activities, travel, and trying new restaurants make the world go round.
We look forward to doing these things. Well, doctor and dentist appointments, maybe not so much. But we inevitably have to attend important appointments and events to take care of ourselves and to support others.
If you want to know how to organize your life with a notebook, using one to track your appointments and events is a good start.
I prefer to keep important life events separate from the daily planners and printables that I use, because it keeps me sane. I don’t have to add any events to my calendar and I can refer to this list to block out time on my schedule each month beforehand.
Organize all the important details of your life with just one sheet of notebook paper, goal-friends. You’ll never have to worry about being late or missing an event again!
15. List of affirmation
Giving yourself a pep talk each morning will never run out of style. Set your day up for success by reciting words of positivity aloud. Affirmation lists help you organize your life into categories to focus on.
Some areas of life just need more attention than others.
Maybe you need to boost your self-confidence or ace an upcoming job interview. An affirmation list can focus on multiple things you want to change in your life.
Write a manifestation list and meditate on it day and night to see results.
Speak positively over your life, so all your desires can come to fruition.
Why are lists popular?
- Great for brainstorming activities
- Presents clear and concise information
- Various formats
- Easy to store away or save digitally
- Step-by-step instructions are easy to follow
- Provides a simple way to organize daily tasks
- Focuses on one topic at a time
- Shareable with others
- Take them wherever you go
- Eliminates distractions
- Fast-track to reach your goals
Now that you have 15 lists to make to organize your whole life, grab a pen, some notebook paper, and start writing!
If printables are more your speed, download the Daily Routine Planner today!
I teach entrepreneurs how to simplify their life and business with less + own their time and maximize productivity towards their personal and monetary goals.