Keep Your Lists in a Lists Journal

Lists are a great way to organize information while providing a simple structure. In the short term, it’s really satisfying to cross down or check off list items. Lists enable to move from one task to another quickly and without wasting time, as long as you put in the work. But there’s another type of list that usually takes longer to complete: bucket lists.

Bucket lists are usually a number of experiences and/or achievements a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime. A bucket list in itself can be pretty disorganised if it encompasses everything you want to do in your life.

But a really cool way to approach this concept is to have different bucket lists, split by activity type. You can keep all your lists in one notepad and cross things off as you go along in life. With a table of contents, you will be able to easily find which list is on what page. You don’t need 100 lists, so a pretty thin notepad like this one will do.

With that in mind, here are some list ideas, split in 3 categories:

  • Actionable long-term items. The classic lifetime bucket list of things you want to check off in your life.
  • Actionable short-term items. A short to mid-term list of things to do. Easier than a life bucket list, short-term impact, with sometimes renewable items (like emails).
  • Mini manifesto. A bucket of things you believe in, or things you don’t want to forget in life.

You can start with a fix amount of items per list and add items as you go. There’s nothing stopping you from adding lists too later on, if you find something you want to do that doesn’t fit in any of the categories.

Actionable long-term items

These are the classic “bucket lists”. You can keep all of them in a “bucket journal”.

  • Places to visit
  • People to meet
  • Trips to have
  • Books to read
  • Movies to watch
  • Recipes to try
  • Things to learn, courses to take
  • Restaurants to try
  • Things you wanted as kid and never got
  • Pictures to take
  • Things to buy to increase your life quality, to invest in yourself
  • Sports to try

Actionable short-term items

These lists are based on a shorter timeframe than the classic life bucket lists. The items they include are usually easier to work on and will have a direct impact in your life. Some of them also include repeat cycles (daily, weekly, or monthly).

  • Emails to send (repeat weekly)
  • Contacts to delete from your phone
  • People to remove from your life
  • Things to give away
  • Fitness plan (repeat weekly/monthly)
  • Stretching exercises (repeat weekly)
  • Things you’ve been putting of for a while (repeat monthly)
  • Apps to delete from your phone

Mini manifesto

Not all of lists have to be made of actionable items. Some of them can be considered a “mini-manifesto”. A reminder of things you believe in, or things you don’t want to forget in life. These lists can also be part of your mission statement, something you can go back to when in doubt, when you’re not sure which direction to take. In essence, your compass.

  • Things to do more
  • Things to do less (or stop doing completely)
  • Promises to yourself that you will keep
  • Values you believe in
  • People to keep in your life and why
  • Facts about you, great introspection exercise
  • Things you are grateful for (this is a good daily exercise no matter what)
  • Ideas to be happier
  • Metrics to track in your life. Life metrics tracking is a very powerful concept that can help you not only log how you feel and what you did, but also find correlations and patterns in the numbers that explain why you felt a certain way or did certain things. It can help you figure out a lot of things about your self.

In conclusion

When you compartmentalise your life goals and tasks in themed lists, you automatically become more organised. The more lists you have, the longer it will take you to cross off everything. When allocating time for your projects, consider the tasks AND the lists. A task might take a day, or a week to finish. But a list can take a month, a year, a lifetime. That’s fine, you actually have a lifetime to live, just make sure it’s fulfilling.

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