charles nick

coffee nerd | musician | R & M loggy Third Wave Water | The Wright Cup | Douvalis Labs
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7 Reasons to have lists

By  douvalis     8/28/2015    Labels:,,, 
7 reasons to have lists

I love reading top tips, bullet points, and lists to learn a myriad of subjects. I find that my eyes are drawn to articles written in this way for a number of reasons. It feels good to read lists. They are like check-lists that make us feel better as we 'check off' the item that we feel we have accomplished or quickly add to our Things checklist to do later. Sometimes we are just looking for validation that we are on the right track when we click on the latest 'top 10 things you are doing right' article.

Some examples might include: 2 steps to clean your car, 3 steps to reach your market, 4 reasons to use product-X, 5 steps to lose weight, 6 steps to learn more efficiently, 7 steps to grow your income, 8 minute abs, etc. Blah, blah, you probably skipped over reading this introduction and jumped straight to the reading the list based on the header of this article, which is what I do too. Onward to the list of '7 reasons to have lists!'

Pilots - We are all secretly pilots at heart and love to read checklists. Who didn't grow up loving to press buttons and steer the joystick at the local Air Force museum while making 'rrrrreeorrrrwwww' noises? Ok, maybe the next reason will be a little more relatable, but I love checklists.

Brevity - Get to the point. Unless there is some earth shattering news in the introduction, we really don't care. We just want the facts ma'am.

Ergonomics - Our eyes are drawn to the bullet points because it is easier for writers to present information in a uniform, sequential methodology. Most of the time it is just the same boring stuff we already knew though, but this brings us to reason number 4.

Validation - We read lists sometimes skimming the content looking for information that merely validates that we are on the right track. Point 1, yes, I'm doing that already....point 2, yes, already started that this morning too...point 3, yes, and now I'm happy that some other author wasn't able to stump me in my current pursuit. Validation!

Organization - Some of us are in love with organization. The dishes are put away, the clothes are in the hamper and our checklists are written in the comfy, reliable, aviation centric-manner we've come to love. Organization in this manner can be either aesthetic or informationally rational.

Past experience - We are used to learning in a step-by-step basis so it fits many of our previous learning methodologies. First put your foot on the brake, then put the car in gear...!

And paragraphs - Reading a paragraph can be mind numbingly boring. Read this article, which uses some annoying vocabulary to share their intellectual verbose capacity and jargon specific research capabilities and then compare it to the list below. Which one makes you feel happier to read? The author is clearly intelligent, but a list conveys the message much quicker, which makes the message more effective. Oh wait...I just used a paragraph in this list, argh!

This article as a list:
When you get to work stop checking your email and voicemail and do this instead; it should take about 10 minutes:

1)  Ask yourself the following questions the moment you sit at your desk: The day is over and I am leaving the office with a tremendous sense of accomplishment. What have I achieved?

2)  Create a list of tasks from the questions. Make sure to distinguish between the tasks that are truly important and not just urgent by writing a note.

3)  Create a plan of attack by breaking down the complex tasks into specific actions using verbs (e.g. collect sales figures, draft slides, and incorporate images into deck).

4)  Prioritize the list by listing the tasks that require the most mental energy first in the list.

Now feel free to have fun and add your reasons to have lists below! 

About douvalis

Having fun inventing cool stuff that you will use one day | business consultant | ex-NASA ISS loggy | aspiring speaker | musician | Third Wave Water | The Wright Cup | Douvalis Labs

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