See You in the Lists: 3 Ways to Keep Track of Everything

Hello, friends!

Why, yes, indeed–I used a line from A Knight’s Tale as the title of this post. Fun fact: I got the chicken pox when I was nine, and that meant sitting on the couch watching period films, and yeah–A Knight’s Tale was one of them and at the tender age of nine I decided that it was my destiny to marry Heath Ledger. Also, Mom and I still like to dance to David Bowie’s “Golden Years” when we hear it on the radio.

But that has nothing to do with this post. Except the title.

I have always been very fond of making lists. As a moody tween, I liked to write them in my journals (I was often inspired by The Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot–or any Meg Cabot book that had lists in it, for that matter). As a teenager, I had a whole notebook devoted to completely pointless lists, and maybe one where I weighed the pros and cons of the two colleges I applied to (I was accepted at both).

Then I kind of stopped. Yeah, lists are fun, but they weren’t really helping me do anything. They didn’t have a purpose outside of entertaining me.

When I moved into my own apartment I started making lists again, because this time I needed them. I found that if I stuck to my grocery list, I wouldn’t spend as much money when I went shopping. Having a to-do list, however short, helped me stay on top of tasks like vacuuming.

But I ignore the ever-growing and ever-changing lists if I keep them in my phone. I end up wasting paper because I lose my grocery list among all the other crap I keep in my purse. And forget actually writing down a to-do list, as I don’t carry my planner with me most days.

So, it’s taken me until now to say this, but this post is actually about how to keep track of your lists. And if you really want my one tip about keeping track of your  lists, it’s this:

Think about where you’ll be when using this list, and adapt accordingly.

So simple it’s stupid, right? If you think so, then you probably don’t need to read this post–you’ve got this. But if you’re still a little confused, by what I mean, keep reading. I’ve shared my favorite ways to keep track of lists below.

Grocery/shopping lists–I write mine down on a piece of paper rather than keeping a list in my phone and continually editing/deleting (I use this notepad from Quill and Fox). I find that the act of physically writing things down helps me to remember what I need without having to look at the list… sometimes. Instead of wasting paper and starting a new list every time I buy groceries, I cross out the things I’ve already bought and then add to the list. As a result, I have this piece of paper that tells me I need to buy orange juice more often than I buy anything else. Most importantly: I keep this list in my purse and/or in my wallet because then I always have it on hand if I decide to go shopping. Purpose, purpose, purpose.

Planners and journals–I used a Plum Paper Planner in 2016, and I bought a Happy Planner to use in 2017 but then the worst possible thing happened–I started journaling in a separate notebook. I still look at and use my Happy Planner, but I don’t see the point really, and next year I’m just going to stick to journaling because, well–shit–it works for me. I kept daily to-do lists of three tasks in my planners, but found I don’t really  like planners, unless I have stickers to use. I like the bullet journal system because it’s minimal and I’m able to personalize how I use it–so that’s what I use to keep track of my to-do lists. I journal in a hardcover Piccadilly notebook, because it’s small and portable so I can just slip it into my school bag without a lot of excess weight.

My phone–When I watch bullet journaling videos–yes, I watch bullet journaling videos, but it gets worse–I see these people keeping lists in their journals like “Makeup I Wear” and I judge–not hard, but I judge nonetheless, because I’m a jerk. It just seems pointless, because you’re writing this in a journal that you’re going to either shelve or throw out at the end of the year, which means you’ll have to write this list down again next year. And do you mean to tell me that you take your journal everywhere with you? I love mine, but I’m not that dedicated. But do you know what I have at arm’s reach 95% of the time? My phone. I write some lists in my Memo app, particularly lists of things that I’ll want to know when I’m out and about–from what makeup shades I wear to ideas for our Christmas menu to song ideas when I have five more jukebox credits and can’t think of what other songs I like (this is seriously the most important list in my phone).

Thanks for taking the time to read! What’s your trick to keep track of everything? What’s your favorite list to write? Comment below!

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