I find them all the time

bits of paper

words scribbled on napkins

crumpled envelopes

that hide in the bottom of my purse,

or fall from my pocket

when I pull out my keys,

pieces of me

starts of poems

a thought that whispered

softly in my brain,

lines and words that wait

patiently to become a poem,

so I gather them up

all these bits and pieces of me

and one by one

discard them to the trash.


Even though the above suggests that the author is saving bits and pieces for the composition of a poem, I thought the “bits of paper” was apropos to some of us who find that we are forever making lists. It seems like my pocketbook is filled at the end of each week with a multitude of paper lists.

Since I am writing this journaling tip way in advance, I am still checking off things left to do to be ready for Christmas which is just 5 days away. It’s got to be a sure bet that each of you are checking off a similar list about now too.

Which made me wonder if making a list for Santa isn’t one of the first lists we make in our lifetime?  Did you write a list of wishes years ago and mail it to a Post Office at the North Pole? My mother saved one of mine addressed with a red crayon. Maybe you do as we do and have the children write their list on a tissue which will float right up a blazing chimney to a waiting elf on the roof. (Just be sure you go out early to pick up the left over pieces from the front lawn that the elf might have missed.) We still ask for a wish list from our grown children. Not that we follow it to the letter because surprises are always fun. We also make a list of what our grandchildren might need or want. This list of course can change in a milo-second as they see something on TV or something in a store. Do you remember the Sears catalog? The toy section could keep my kids occupied for a long time circling favorite things with a coloring crayon.  Somehow getting a Needless Markup catalog does not fill me with the same excitement! Who wears those wild outfits anyway? I digress…

Creating and writing down a list does the following:

  • Makes it real. It’s not just a dream floating around in your head. For example, a list of New Year’s resolutions is much more powerful when it’s written down and tacked up in front of your nose on the door of the refrigerator.
  • Reduces the stress of having to remember. How many times have you gotten to the grocery store and realized you’ve either left the list in the car, at home, or gotten home and forgotten an important ingredient?
  • Saves valuable time – see above.
  • Keeps you from feeling overwhelmed with the work ahead of you. Be sure and prioritize the list with the most important tasks at the top.
    • Use your ABCs to help you prioritize tasks. A means ATTENTION needed NOW; F which can mean FOLLOW UP much later.
  • Makes you look smart! No really! And you are smart because you’ll be getting jobs done on time instead of floundering around at the last minute.
  • Makes a  long term goal list (such as an building a new home, a trip to Tahiti, going back to college) much more doable when it’s broken down into small to do lists. A list of how you are going to achieve these long term goals will get you to the finish line one step at a time. Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare? It’s not always the quickest way that wins the prize.
  • Can refresh a relationship. Making a list of why you love your ‘significant other’ can often bring back the strong feelings you had in the beginning of your relationship and remind you of why you chose to spend your life with this person.
  • Can get you focused on what it will take to complete a task.
  • Can help you prioritize jobs in order of timeliness or importance.
  • Can get your brain thinking “what if”?
  • Can keep you to a schedule instead of dashing from project to project – completing nothing.
  • Makes you feel better. Don’t you feel proud of yourself once you can check off a completed item???

Types of  lists:

  • Goals
  • Gifts for family and friends
  • Grocery or shopping items
  • A Wish List: Things or places – dreams of what you want to happen someday
  • Your To-dos for the day; for the week; for the month; for the year
  • Repairs that need to be done around the house
  • Plants that need to be planted in the fall, in the spring
  • Exercise schedule
  • Passwords
  • Books you’ve read and books you’d like to read
  • Credit card numbers and expiration dates (this is protected, right?)
  • Substitutions
  • Prescriptions and numbers
  • Precious things you want to pass on to another generation and the stories behind them
  • Weight loss logs – things eaten or temptations and how you dealt with them

Methods of keeping a list:

1. Paper and pen:

  • Notepads, Post-It notes, lined note cards, Moleskines (our son has used these for years now having a stack documenting projects from past years)

2. Software:

You are in good company if you make lists! Richard Branson says, “Each day I work through these lists, and it is by ticking off each task that my ideas take shape and plans move forward. As the new year gets started, lots of you will be busy making resolutions. If you want to stick to them, I suggest making them into lists.” Here are his 10 Tips for making good lists.

  1. Write down every single idea you have, no matter how big or small.
  2. Always carry a notebook.
  3. Find a list method that works for you. Doodles, bullet-points, charts – what suits you best?
  4. Make a list of small, manageable tasks to complete every day.
  5. Mark off every completed task. You’ll find making each tick very satisfying.
  6. Make your goals measurable so you know if your plans are working.
  7. Set far off, outlandish goals. What do you want to have achieved by 2020? How about 2050?
  8. Include personal goals in your lists, not just business.
  9. Share your goals with others. You can help motivate each other further.
  10. Celebrate your successes then make new lists of new goal.

All of us here in Pixieville make and follow lists too! You didn’t really think  new things appeared each day on the website by magic did you? Pixie Shelley is our master list maker and she’s made awesome Build Lists to help us stay on task. And she didn’t just make a list and say follow it. She’s rewritten and honed and fiddled and specialized them to the various needs of the team – several times. There are even different colors to clue us in on who has to do what and when! Shhh… We try not to talk about those dreaded blocks of RED!  And after the pixies plan for future tips, videos, handouts and blogs, what a help to be able to see, months in advance, what needs to be done. But the best is the fun of seeing all those check marks (‘x’s” on our Google Build List) of completed tasks!

With the New Year just around the corner now – here’s a short wish list from me to you. I wish that you…

  • Count your blessings every night before you go to sleep
  • Try to find a WOW each day
  • Make a backup of everything you don’t want to lose on your computer
  • Take awesome photos
  • Complete a TON of  albums
  • Have plenty of what you need
  • Learn something new each day
  • Remember what’s important
  • Think outside the box and step outside of your comfort zone
  • Check things off on your lists each day and feel proud of your accomplishments

Happy  memory making,


PS. Note: It’s important to check the spelling on a list that’s going to be made public. Over the holidays I bought some cheese straws cut in the shape of Christmas trees. Maybe if I’d read the ingredient list on the cellophane packaging, I’d have thought twice about buying what turned out to be dry and tasteless. Ingredients: Flower, Cheese, Butter, Salt and Red Pepper. (The spelling should have been a clue.)

  • Paper: Turtle Dove
  • Embellishments: Turtle Dove
  • Fonts: Prophecy Script, AATypewriter, ACME Secret Agent

Journaling Tip Page 2


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11 Responses to Journaling Tip: Making a List

  1. Suzy says:

    Has the free download expired? I click on the link, and it just brings me here.

    • Jan says:

      No, it hasn’t expired, Suzy. I’m guessing you are clicking on the wrong link. On page 80 of the December “Pages” magazine, hover over the words “List Builder” at the top of the page and click the link symbol that appears.

  2. Caroll says:

    Enjoyed this tip and the December Pages article on lists. Tried to download the freebie, but can’t get it to work. Any hints?

    • Anne says:

      Glad you like the tip! Sorry you’re having problems with downloading. If you hover over the link on page 81, you should be able to download the freebie.

    • Tameka says:

      Hover over the “Get download link here” button on page 81. Three blue bubbles will appear. Click the third blue bubble. That is the link to the download. Once you click it, the kit will automatically download. You won’t see anything on your screen. It won’t look like anything is happening. Just go to your downloads folder. The Zip file will be there.

    • Jan says:

      Carroll, which part are you having trouble with? Were you able to download the freebie, or it that the problem? Once you have downloaded it (see Anne’s instructions), then it is a zipped file. You’ll need to unzip it, and then you will find two pages similar to Blueprints.

      Let us know if you are still having issues and be as specific as you can. We will help you work it out!

  3. Melita Watts says:

    I am a list writer too. I am slowly converting over to lists on the notes app on my phone.
    I will definitely include a list or two in my next project. What a cool idea! Thanks!

  4. shirley shingara says:

    I can relate! Grocery List on back of re-used envelopes to hold coupons for shoppings, lists of errands to run, daily and long term tasks, works in progress (scrap, sewing and other crafts). I thought I was an avid list maker, but your list adds to MY list of lists to make and items to complete!

  5. Jan says:

    All of us Pixies make lists? Hmmmm…..I’m afraid I don’t resemble that remark…

    Great tip, Anne!!

  6. Deanna Emmert says:

    I have a clipboard filled with old 8.5 x 11 inch papers that I use the blank backs of to write my daily to-do lists. My husband (software developer) installed E-wallet on my computer to keep all of my passwords there. He says notebooks with passwords are dangerous to keep around a house and I agree after an incident last year involving a family member. I have weekly menu planners that I plan out our dinners and then make grocery shopping lists based on what is in which aisle in the stores so I’m not wasting time. Haven’t found a great app yet that EASILY lets me do that. In short, I am ALWAYS making lists and crossing things off of them or safely keeping them elsewhere for reference later. It’s just what I do. 🙂 So much of what you have written in your blog affirms to me that I have been on the “write” track (pardon my pun) for a long, long time! Thank you, Anne! 🙂

  7. Anita Albritton says:

    Love your blog, Anne! I learned list-writing from my dad, who always had a little scraps of paper with lists of various things on them! I tend to just write to-do lists, but after reading all of your suggestions may have to up the ante on my list writing! Thanks for the inspiration!!

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