blog 24: In which I list The Top Ten Reasons for Making a List.

The List is an absolute good. The List is life!” (Itzhak Stern – Schindler’s List)

Itzhak Stern of course had very good reasons for liking the particular list referred to in the above quote, but while not every list may be an absolute good, list-making in general has many benefits.

So here for your edification are my TOP TEN REASONS FOR MAKING A LIST:

1. Drawing up a list of any kind will immediately make you appear super efficient!

Boss: How’s that big project I assigned to you going?
You: Yeah no worries, everything’s under control. I’ve got my to-do list all sorted out.
Boss: Good job!

Meanwhile your actual List is:

1. Try to figure out all the stupid stuff I have to do for my stupid big project.
2. Do all that stupid stuff.

2. Lists make everything seem ordered and organised – even if they’re not!

Can you imagine how a list would have helped that guy who developed Chaos Theory? Seriously, have you ever tried to plough your way through Chaos Theory? It’s a mess! It’s all over the place like a dog’s breakfast. If that Chaos Theory clown had just applied a few thoughtfully considered lists to his work he could have ended up developing Numerically Organised, Chronically Prioritized and Cleary Set Out Theory instead.

3. A carefully constructed list can fill you with a sense of achievement!

I ask you, who doesn’t love the unbridled thrill of slashing a line through something written on a piece of paper? And this feeling can even be enhanced by either (a) adding things to your list that you have already done or (b) including unnecessary or trivial items that are easily crossed off.


1. Get paper and pen to make BIG PROJECT TO-DO LIST.
2. Think of things I have to-do.
3. Make list.
4. Drink copious amounts of coffee to keep brain cells firing.
5. Eat biscuits and cake to maintain strength.
6. Start working on BIG PROJECT.
7. Revisit points 4 & 5 regularly.
8. Complete BIG PROJECT.
9. Have a night out on the town with the girls/guys as a reward for hard work.

4. If you put all your time and effort into making your list, you can put off actually doing anything on the list!

With a bit of luck, while you lose yourself in list-writing mode, all those tedious to-do things will eventually be done by someone else. Someone with time on their hands. Someone who’s not busy making lists!

5. Making one list creates the opportunity to make another list!

This is because your first list is only a draft and it will need to be revised into a  second list where you eliminate unimportant items and prioritize the remainder for maximum efficiency.

EG: A DALEK’S initial to-do list.

1. Write to-do list
2. Practise voice exercises
3. Check circuitry
4. Re-calibrate ray-gun
5. Polish shiny body panels and flashing lights
6. Align and oil wheels & treads
7. Locate stairs
8. Exterminate them

DALEK’S revised, streamlined, prioritized to-do list.


6. List makers are automatically looked up to as natural-born leaders!

Take the following scenario for example: Your plane has crashed Lost-style on a remote island. You and your fellow survivors are gathered together for the first time. Everyone is frightened and confused.

Survivor 1:We’re all gunna die! What will we do!!!
(General hysteria and panic from rest of the mob)
You: Well, I’ve made a prioritized Remote Island Survival To-Do list if that’s any help.
(General cheering and prayers of thanks from mob) 
Survivor 2: Great! What’s first on the list?
You: Number One – “Elect a leader”.
Survivor 3: Leader? Well what about you then? It’s your list. You should be leader.
Mob: Yes him/her! The list guy/girl! We want that dude/chick – the one with the list! Only the List-maker can save us! The List-maker has all the answers! List-maker! List-maker! List-maker! List-maker!
You: Ok, ok settle down everyone, I’ll do it. I’ll be your leader. Now let’s see; we’ve elected a leader so I can cross that one off. We’re making good progress!
(General murmur of approval and sense of achievement from mob)
Survivor 2: Cool! What’s next?
You: Point Number Two: “Make sure all of your elected leader’s needs and desires are satisfied before your own.”

7. I have it on good authority that if you make a list and check it twice, you can miraculously gain the ability to know who is naughty and who is nice!

Can you imagine what you could do with information like that?!? Apart from the obvious personal advantages, you could sell that info to tele-marketers for a fortune!

8. Being a list-maker puts you in the same echelon as other famous list-ers like Moses, Schindler, Santa Claus, and that Tower in Pisa. (You might have to think about it for a while. I don’t mind waiting.)

9. Making a list exercises your brain and encourages creative thinking and problem solving.

An example of this would be if you’d promised to make a list of the Top Ten of something or other, but you fell one short. This situation would inspire you to cheat creatively in order to fill the gap in the hope that no one notices.

10. But personally I feel that the most important reason for making a list is this: if you are a Blogger and you construct your Blog in the form of a List, it virtually guarantees that you will get more views and more comments than usual. After all, who doesn’t love a list?  


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9 Responses to blog 24: In which I list The Top Ten Reasons for Making a List.

  1. Pingback: Kurze Liste unvermeidlicher Adjektive (2) | better media

  2. Pingback: Kurze Liste unvermeidlicher Adjektive (Teil 2) | better media

  3. Cherri Ryan says:

    Oh my goodness. I can’t stop giggling at this blog. Listmaker! Listmaker! Listmaker! Music to my ears. Must be some world domination plot buried deep in my psyche. cheers for this Michael.


  4. Will have to put that down to a basic difference in chromsomes.


  5. Brilliant! And that’s only pertaining to the lists we (I) actually manage to get on paper. I think you’d need a whole other blog post to organise and analyse the list factory going on perpetually in my tiny little overcrowded mind. # 3. closest to my heart. Love that sense of achievement feeling, which I only otherwise get when I remember to bring the washing in before it storms. Beaut post Michael.


    • mgbauer says:

      Thanks Dimity. Because I’m the one at home the ‘washing in before it storms’ thing is usually my responsibility . Sadly, and much to Adrie’s disgust, I often fail to experience a sense of achievement in this area.


  6. kathleennoud says:

    Ah, Michael. I’m trying so hard not to laugh at work but this is so true! And so me! I even add extra things to my list that I’ve done during the day and cross them off immediately. All the added scrawl makes me look like I’ve been absolutely slaying my to-do list. Genius!


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