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There are two types of people in the world, those who like using lists and those who don’t like using lists. The classic “to-do” list is probably the most used type of list but you can make a list about almost anything in your life. Lists can be used in a variety of ways, some different types of lists examples include:

  • To-Do List
  • Packing List
  • Grocery List
  • Books to Read List
  • Movies and Shows to Watch List
  • Bucket List
  • Pro vs Con List
  • Cleaning List
  • Home Maintenance List
  • Honey To-Do List
  • Goals List
  • Guest List

There are also types of lists that you can make to help you with organizing your life. Dr. Robert Kraft, who is a professor of cognitive psychology at Otterbein University wrote an article that was published on the Psychology Today website about the benefits of making lists. He wrote that lists help us with memory and focus in our everyday lives in ten ways, which are:

1. Externalizing What We Need to Remember

Lists aid in documenting what we might forget. Our memory likes structure such as a list, without that structure, it makes remembering more difficult.

2. Remembering Across Contexts

Our memories are often retrieved in context, meaning that they are thought of when the circumstances are right. Using a list helps remember something without having to use a specific context.

3. Resonating with Our Serial Processing

Our minds like to focus on doing one task at a time. Making lists resonates with this by listing one item per line so that you make your way through the list one by one, using a linear process.

4. Adding Without Restructuring

We don’t have to restructure an entire list if you have to add something to it. You simply add it at the bottom. This makes using lists easy and user-friendly.

5. Generating New Items

When you are making a list, each item or task you list acts as a retrieval cue for another item or task. This helps encourage memory.

6. Concision

Lists are generally concise. They deliver a lot of information, using only a few words that are easy for us to understand.

7. Lending a Sense of Accomplishment

Completing a list gives us a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment. It shows that we have worked hard and we don’t need to worry about those items or tasks anymore.

8. Decision-Making

Lists can help us make decisions easier. Have you ever struggled to make a decision and made a ‘pro vs con’ list to help you? This type of list helps your mind organize all the reasons for or against a specific choice.

9. Breaking Habits

Lists can help you break habits. We all have habits that we carry out on a normal basis. It can sometimes be difficult to break those habits or build new better habits. Making a list of goals or things “Not to Do” can help you break habits.

10. Saving Time

Making lists is relatively easy and they are made to be to the point. This will save you time by not having to read or write paragraphs but also not letting you forget what you need to accomplish.

To read the original article from Psychology Today, click here.


Kraft, R. (2021, May 7). 10 benefits of making lists. Psychology Today. Retrieved June 24, 2022