It’s no secret that we are living in a fast-paced world. It seems as though every new invention is designed to help us do things quicker and more efficiently than ever before. What once took several people and multiple hours to accomplish can now be completed by one person in just a few minutes. As a result, work demands – and stress levels – are at a very high level.

With everything we have to do in a day, our minds can become inundated with tasks, goals, errands, grocery items, and all the other things we ask it to keep track of. When our brains work so hard to remember each thing, we can become stressed and anxious. That is where lists come in. Lists actually help our minds rest by bearing the load of all the things we are trying to remember. Once a task or item has been written down, our brains are freed from keeping track of that item and can move on to other things. Simple brilliance!

Maybe you are already a hardcore list maker. Maybe your heart sings when you check off items as they are completed. Or, perhaps you’ve never made a list in your life and the idea of organizing tasks makes you feel nauseous. Wherever you stand, know that there is so much to benefit from using this simple strategy.

In his book entitled Book of Lists, David Wallechinsky writes, “People are attracted to lists because we live in an era of overstimulation, especially in terms of information, and lists help us in organizing what is otherwise overwhelming.”

No one wants to feel overwhelmed, and why should we force our brains to run on overdrive when such a straightforward solution exists? There are dozens of apps and programs available for easy task managing and list-making. A simple Google search will enable you to find the right method that works for you.

Here are a few of the best tools to get you started:

Pen and Paper

That’s right. Grab some old fashioned, hole-punched, blue-lined paper and a pen and you’re set to go! If you already carry a physical planner, you can keep all your lists inside it for easy access and organization. Or find some cute stationary that you’ll love opening up every time you need to write something down. Some people enjoy making lists on paper the most because it allows them to literally scratch things out as they go, resulting in a satisfying sense of accomplishment.

iOS Reminder App

This handy tool comes pre-loaded on iPhones, iPads, and iTouch. It is completely hassle-free, allowing you to create multiple lists with due dates and location services while also syncing with Calendar, iCloud, and Outlook.


(free or $29/year for premium features)
Todoist has an amazingly simple layout that allows you to create separate categories for tasks, set due dates, copy emails and web articles into a task, and share tasks with others. Todoist is available on 13 platforms, allowing you to access your lists from anywhere!


This app’s clean and simple design has won Apple’s 2012 “Intuitive Touch” award, as well as the award for Best Android App 2012. Tasks can be synced between your computer and mobile device, and a Chrome extension allows you to access your tasks from your browser. The app includes location services, reminders, and also works well with the Cal app.


If you’ve got a sense of humor and want to turn list-making into a game, Carrot is the app for you.  Available for iPhones, Carrot is the task manager with a personality. She’ll give you rewards for the tasks you accomplish. But be careful! Carrot does not like slackers, and she’ll get upset if you’re not getting things done. With a gesture-based interface, Carrot is effortless and just plain fun.

What’s your favorite way to keep your mind free and your lists organized? 

Image via Emily Reiter


  1. I love lists and like the Things App for iPhone lists and the To Do List pad from Knock Knock Stuff for pen and paper lists.

  2. I’ve felt guilty for making lists in the past, but it really does help give the brain a rest! Seems pretty simple, but a reminder every now and then that it’s OKAY to make lists is always helpful.

  3. I’m obsessed with lists! I make lists for everything, even if it is just for a couple things. It goes back to me having to write everything down or I will forget. I use the reminder app all the time, I also of course have my planner.

    Allison over at Allison’s Eye

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