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I use lists whenever I can. They help me stay organized and most importantly focused! I'm not going to say productive, because everyone talks about being productive these days and that seems counter-productive.

So why are lists useful? For starters they are a lot easier to comprehend and understand, they (can) make you a better at writing down what you mean in an organized manner, you can have them ordered or unordered, you can customize them (mostly on paper, -, *, . etc.) and so much more.

Not impressed? Let me demonstrate by restating the previous paragraph:

So why are lists useful?

  • Easier to comprehend and understand
  • They (can) force you to write down things in an organized manner
  • They can be ordered or unordered
  • Easy to customize (mostly on paper, -, *, . etc.)
  • and so much more

The paragraph/section may have gotten longer, but it's much more easy to digest and understand. Also, it give your eyes a way to look at key takeaways when reading.

I (usually) write down things immediately when they come to mind on paper, if it's something I have to do when I finish at work, tomorrow, whatever - it doesn't matter, just get it out of your head. When it's written down you have removed the need to remembering it, you can now focus on other things. The mind works in weird ways, so you realize and remember stuff at random times, and it's important to write them down as soon as you can. This kinds of list can work as a cache for the brain.

When I write blogposts I usually start with a list, I like to breakdown my posts into chunks, where I use nested-lists. When I have listed out everything I want to write I paste the list into a Markdown-file and take it from there.

Short-term and permanent lists are the best lists. Short-term lists are for just writing down things as a todo list, bullet journaling, quick notes. Permanent lists are things like inventory, stuff to always keep at hand, software lists etc., basically lists that are rarely added upon. But you also have the never-ending lists. They can be scary, they never end, and you are unable to remove old stuff from them.

Use lists when you can itemize something, when it's possible to break it down. Lets look at some examples:

  • A grocery list
  • Tasks/Todos
  • Measurements
  • Specifications
  • (Short) Questions, preferably numbered
  • Notes
  • Pros and cons

When you try to make everything a list you suddenly realize that everything can be a list. Sure, you can write a pros and cons as a paragraph, but you and your readers will thank you if it's in a list instead.

These are my own thoughts and opinions, you don't have to agree, but please let me know if you have any additions or questions.