Must-have lists
Planning & Organization

The 7 Lists You Must Have If You Want To Both Do The Work And Feel Happy & Content

Are you a fan of lists? I know I am!

I love making lists – for almost anything possible.

Despite the ever-growing presence of various digital mediums to put your notes/memos/to-dos/anything-else-things into, I’m still a tangible kind of gal – I like to spill it all on paper.

It’s a passion and a weakness – I can’t help it…

Now, I’m not saying my lists look perfect every time.

Sometimes, when the inspiration strikes, any piece of paper will do good.

But I do like to keep them (when possible) neatly organized in my planner.

There is something about the process of holding a paper, writing, and decorating it, that makes me feel accountable for what I “say” in there.

Even though the digital mediums are more likely to be with me no matter where I am (take a smartphone as an example), and I can write down anything in them, I don’t get the same vibe or effect out of it.

Anyhow, among all the other things I write down, lists are the ones I make often.

The way I see it, lists are an awesome way to store the information you want and/or need to keep track of or to serve simply as a reminder.

Therefore, out of all the lists I make, I thought to share with you the ones I think are the most beneficial to have.

Here there are – all seven of them!

(ranked at no particular order 😉 )

#1 – A To-Do list

A good, old To-do list!

Surprised it’s the first one mentioned?

What do you think, can anything be done without a To-do list?

(well, alright, it can, but it sure helps not to forget something!)

There are numerous ways to create and use a To-do list.

Most people swear that the best method is to make this list on a daily basis, the night before, so when you wake up in the morning you already have set in place the items you should tackle throughout the day.

But, that’s not me. 🙂 I like to do a different one.

A weekly To-do list is more of my thing.

Well, it’s actually a hybrid one between a weekly and a daily To-do list.

If you’d like to get a nice review of these types of To-do lists, check out this post – Daily Vs Weekly To-Do List And Which One Perfectly Fits You.

As you probably already know, a To-do list is excellent for tracking your tasks and making sure you don’t forget something along the way.

A quite useful asset to keep by your side if you’re serious about the work you do.

You're Well Aware Of A To-Do List. But, Did You Know There Are 6 More Lists You Should Have For A Happy, Content Life? Click To Tweet

#2 – A Not-To-Do list

This list is quite the opposite to the previous one – if you’re looking at it from an outcome perspective, that is.

A Not-To-Do list has some amazing benefits, and it can sometimes be even more useful than a “traditional” To-do list.

The most wonderful advantage this list has is that it can help you free up your time and increase your productivity.

You might think “how?”.

Well, a Not-To-Do list reminds you.

About the things, events, people, behavior, whatever you want actually, which you DON’T want to spend your time (or your thoughts) on.

As a bonus, it’s easy to make and it doesn’t need to be written on a daily/weekly basis.

All you have to do is to keep it somewhere where it will remind you of what you want to be reminded of. 🙂

If it’s about work (or better say, NOT work) – keep it in your working space.

If it’s about a certain behavior you want to avoid, put it in the place where undesired behavior most likely occurs.

…You get the idea.

This Not-to-do list can really help you deal better with procrastination, focus, priority assessment, forming/changing habits… Not bad, huh?

Most of the time, this list really helps me to snap from some evil productivity-killer!

(and, yeah… sometimes the bad guys win… hey! I’m only human, too!)

Printable life planner with many different lists

#3 – An Achievements list

This list works the best when you have some goal set in place (or in mind!).

And it’s super beneficial (on multiple levels) to make one.

Let me explain in short…

Let’s simplify.

There are two types of people: the “positive viewer” – the one who is satisfied and clearly sees (and comprehends) the progress he/she makes, and the other kind – the “negative viewer” – the one who is almost always too focused on the future goal (and the next one, and the next one…) and somehow never sees or acknowledges his/hers smaller victories.

(confession – I think I’m more of a “negative viewer” myself, but trying to fix it 😛 )

P.S. If you want to create an awesome goal and nail it down, check out the post Setting SMART Goals – The Best System To Smash Your Goals

An Achievement list is awesome for both of those types of people, but it’s even more beneficial for the second one – those who think and/or feel like are not making a move forward (while in reality, they ARE!).

(and I can testify to it!)

Get an idea of what I want to say? (and understand why is it so?)

This list helps you value yourself and your work more, it gives you the confidence and motivation to keep going, and it also offers you more enjoyment and satisfaction about the whole process, not just about the endpoint.

We’re talking about living a satisfying life in a real moment, instead of constantly chasing the future!

Sounds good to me! 🙂

So each time you take a step towards your goal or do something worth mentioning, even though it might seem small or insignificant to you, consider writing it down in your Achievements list.


Better yet, just write it down, without a second thought.

And add a date to it.

As time goes by, your list will continue to grow, and at the moments when you feel like you’re not making enough (or any) progress, or have been hit by a low motivation/self-esteem mode (and let me tell you, no one is immune to these), take a look at it. 

You’ll immediately realize how much work, effort, and progress you’ve already made!

This will surely give you an instant kick in the pants you might need to get back on the right track – where you are and belong to.

The seven lists you must have infographic

#4 – A Motivational list

Even though an Achievements list can be in a way viewed as the same, a Motivational list serves this purpose alone.

Whenever you find something which inspires or motivates you, write it down on this list.

It might be a song lyrics, an inspirational quote, an event which happened to you or you heard about it through your friends or the media, a phrase or a few sentences you say only to yourself to lift your spirit up (as a note to yourself from yourself)…

A Motivational list serves the whole of you – it can refer to any aspect of your life, not just the work-related-professional and goal-getting one (like an Achievements list).

This list is a safe place to go to find the strength, courage, and inner power in you to keep it going no matter the challenges or obstacles you might be facing.

Believe me, you’ll discover you’re unstoppable!

And for extra ideas on how to conquer the low motivation mode, take a look at 10 Proven Motivation Boosters – Ideas To Kick Low Motivation Mode In The Butt!

The 7 Lists To Make You Feel Good About Your Life (#3 Is A Must!) Click To Tweet

#5 – A Bucket list

I so, so, so, so LOVE this list! 🙂

A Bucket list (or a Wishlist or a Dream list, as I also call it) is my favorite list to go to when I want to take some time to myself and relax.

Can you tell I love to daydream?

But, remember, every success starts with a dream.

So what goes in here?

Whatever heartwarming thing you want to do in the nearer/more distant future!

Learn a new skill, travel to certain places, meet inspiring people, create one or more forms of art by yourself, read a specific book, do some fun/crazy stuff…

Write down whatever makes your soul happy!

Remember, as long as it’s within the boundaries of achievable (and almost everything actually IS), the items of a Bucket list can become real with a well-developed plan.

Printable Goal Setting Worksheets - set your goals and make a successful action plan

#6 – A Gratitude list

It’s a good thing to make a small stop every now and then, look back, and list as many things which come to your mind for which you are grateful.

It helps us be more content with our lives, about the big – and maybe even more important – the little things we are blessed to have in the present moment.

Some of the things I am grateful for are being healthy and in good shape, having both a daughter and a son (along with their specific, unique, wacky characters), having the support from my family to be me and to chase my interests and passions, having a job with awesome working hours, and many, many others…

But enough about me.

Stop for a second and think about it right now for yourself.

Name a few things you are grateful for.

You don’t have to write them down if you don’t want to, you can have them in your thoughts only.

And now honestly tell me, how do you feel?

A bit more satisfied?

Calmer and relaxed?

Or would you like to instantly call or see a dear person from your thoughts to tell him/her how much he/she means to you?

And that might be the biggest value a Gratitude list gives to all of us.

Not a thing to be missed.

#7 – An Important list

The last one of these lists in a way can be viewed as a part of a Gratitude list.

Perhaps, as its name says, this list is the most important one of all.

Fear not – once you set it up, this list requires the least amount of effort (next to nothing, that is).

And even creating one doesn’t take much time.

So, what is so important about an Important list?

It’s a list that keeps all of your most important events in one place, those which made a big impact on your life’s course and direction and which mean deeply to you.

An Important list has the names of the people who you love and trust the most, who would move the mountains for you, and you would do the same for them.

It also contains your core values, and I might even say purpose.

Therefore, when the hectic world keeps pulling us the way it wants, it’s good to take a look at this Important list.

Check and make sure you’re on the right track, the one which aligns with your true self and those who matter to you the most.

And never ever forget it.

With everything said, I’m encouraging you to take some time in your days and create these lists.

(to have a beautiful version of these lists, along with a matching planner, check out my printable planner: It All Starts With A Plan)

You’ve got nothing to lose, but a lot to get. 🙂

Pssst... Here are more related posts just for you, dear! 😉

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  1. I love your lists. A lot of folks think only of to do lists but others, especially the gratitude list, are just as important. I had never thought of a “not to do” list before. That is definitely and interesting idea. I also like the achievements list. I am definitely pinning this post.

    1. Glad you liked it! 🙂
      Believe it or not, I got more productive after using a “not to do” list.
      I was amazed by how much time I loose on those not important things.
      (and some not-so-good habits, but let’s not talk about that right now… 😉 😀 )
      Thanks for sharing this post!

  2. I love this! I’m such a big fan of making list. I make list for all sorts of things especially the ones you mentioned! I never thought about doing a gratitude list I think that’s something I should definitely do. Sometimes it’s so easy to forget when you are stressed out!

    Jasmine 🙂

    1. I can so relate – both with the part of making lists for all sorts of things and being stressed out from time to time! 😀

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