I make lists. Clearly the fact that I do a Top Ten Tuesday list would indicate that at least once a week I either make a list or find a list that I find significant to share. In the blogging world, I constantly read lists. When I see headings like “The Top Ten Books of 2014” or the “The Top Ten Players in the NFL Draft” I immediately want to read the list to see what someone’s opinion is and whether I agree or not. Lists are easy to review when I might not have the time or the inclination to read an essay on the same topic. In the blogging world, the list format is used frequently.
My Top Ten Tuesday list this week consists of 10 reasons to make lists.
- Lists help you to remember things that you might otherwise forget. The grocery list is a prime example. How many times have you made a grocery list either to leave it at home or lose it before you get to the store? Sometimes you don’t actually need the list with you but just having committed it to writing might help you to remember the items.
- Lists can help sort out the pros and cons of a decision. A good decision-making technique is to write out the reasons for and against doing something. The tougher the decision the more helpful it might be to list the pluses and minuses. I once had a choice of two job offers from which to choose and the list really helped me.
- Lists help to organize thoughts. Coming up with a list and rearranging the items might help you to determine what you want to include or cover in a paper or in a discussion, and also in the order in which you want to make those points.
- Lists help to motivate, as in listing those things you want to accomplish this year, or by your next birthday, or in this lifetime. Once you’ve made the list you can tick the things off as you accomplish them.
- Lists are easy to read. Provided the writer doesn’t get too verbose in feeling that she has to explain every item on the list, they are a quick way to get the idea across.
- Lists are easy to write. You can hit just the main ideas and fill the details in later if you need to .
- Listing ideas cause other ideas to come to you. It is brainstorming by yourself (or with others) when the thought process can be accelerated as you quickly record thoughts.
- Everybody can make lists. You don’t have to be able to write or spell particularly well.
- Lists help a reader know what to expect. If the list is called “The 10 Best Vegetables” you know you are likely to get a list of vegetables and not a list of beauty queens. Many titles can be very misleading but a with a well-defined list you get what you expect.
- Lists work well in today’s fast paced world of instant gratification and wanting instant answers. You don’t have to plod through paragraphs of prose to get the main ideas. The Aha points can flow quickly one right after another. Many people only scan and don’t even read so lists conform nicely to that style.
Are you a list maker? Why do you like lists? Why do you make lists? How do they help you?