5 Types of Lists You Should Be Using Every Day

Everyone knows about the humble to do list, but do you use lists in other ways? These are the types of lists you should be using every day to help focus, be more productive and feel more organised.

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Lists save lives. Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but lists certainly save my sanity and keep my life in order (well, I pretend my life is in order but that’s a whole different post). Regardless, without the numerous lists I use every single day, shit just wouldn’t get done. You can create a list for pretty much anything but there are certain types of lists you should be using every day to keep your sanity in check.

These lists don’t need to be written out every day, you don’t need a list of lists, and you certainly don’t need to spend a great deal of time creating them in order to make them effective. Just use them and you’ll already be better off.

If you want to be as obsessed with planners as we are, you can grab a copy of our free Mini Life Planner – with 36 pages designed to help you organise and simplify your life:

1 – A Daily / Weekly To Do List

This one is by far the most obvious and one that is probably the most widely used. There’s no real ‘wrong’ way to write a to do list but there are certainly more effective ways you use them. You just have to find what works for you.

Personally, on my daily to do list I write out everything that needs to be done that day including all business and personal tasks. I don’t tend to separate the two because I don’t have set work hours and I just get things done when I can get them done.

I then mark my 3 top priorities for the day so I know what absolutely MUST get done, and then I add a time and time frame to them. For example, I may need to make sure I phone the doctors to make an appointment for my son so I would write 8am, and 5 minutes next to the task. It just keeps me more accountable.

I also keep a weekly to do list close by that I add to for things that need to be done this week but not necessarily today. I check it when I’m writing my daily to do list to make sure I’m not missing anything.

Some people prefer to write out their to do list the night before, others like to write it first thing of a morning to set their focus. I don’t think it actually matters either way, as long as you do it consistently.

2 – A Budget

Budgets aren’t just for people who have difficulties managing money. That was my belief for so long and then I realised, the most successful businesses in the world have budgets, it’s smart to know where your money is coming and going!

You don’t have to write out your budget each day but you should at least be sure to check it. If you have any income coming in then be sure to track it and if you have any expenses going out be sure to track those as well. This doesn’t just apply to businesses – your personal income should be tracked too. It makes sense when you think about it.

Get your hands on our free Mini Finance Planner:

3 – A Meal Plan

For so long I was a meal plan snob. I figured I didn’t need a meal plan and that I change my mind so much I’d never stick to it anyway. Oh how wrong was I? A meal plan saves me so much brain power! I don’t have to spend half the day wondering what we are going to have for dinner, debating whether or not I needed to go to the store or if I could just put something together from what we already have. It’s all planned out now!

My husband was converted too, which is a big deal. He does at least half of the cooking so it works really well for us both to plan out at the start of the week what we are going to have. It also means less trips to the grocery store (I loathe grocery shopping), less buying of unnecessary items and less food waste. Winner all round.

Again, you don’t need to write out your meal plan every single day but you should at least be referring to it each day. You can even be super organised and plan out breakfasts and lunches too!

Everyone knows about the humble to do list, but do you use lists in other ways? These are the types of lists you should be using every day to help focus, be more productive and feel more organised.

4 – A Goals and Gratitude List

Everyone, literally everyone, should have a goals and gratitude list. I am a huge advocate for creating goals and expressing gratitude and I really like combining the two together in a single task.

This list might only take 5 minutes of your time, and you can add it to the bottom of your to do list or in your daily diary or even just on a scrap piece of paper. It doesn’t really matter. As long as you take time to focus on these two things.

Not only does writing down your goals increase your likelihood of achieving them, it also means that your goals are always at the forefront of your mind because you’ve paid attention to them that day. They don’t have to be extravagant goals, it could be as simple as ‘walk 10,000 steps every single day for a week’ or as big as ‘save $100k for a deposit on a house’.

You should also be spending some time each and every single day practicing gratitude. To keep the list simple, write out 3 goals and 3 things you are grateful for today. It takes next to no time but makes all the difference to your mindset when you focus on your goals and focus on the things you are grateful for in your life.

5 – A Self Care List

Self care is so incredibly important. Which is why it deserves it’s own list. While you could simply add your daily self care task to your to do list, I find that this doesn’t give self care quite enough focus. And if you struggle to come up with something you want to do that day for self care, it’s easy to just put it off.

So, I encourage you to have a dedicated self care list that is a list of self care ideas you love. Come up with at least 20 and whenever you think of something, add it to the list to refer to. Whenever you have time to yourself (even if it’s just a few minutes) refer to your list and get inspiration for something you can do just for you.

These self care tasks can be as simple as sitting down and drinking a coffee while it’s still hot, right through to book yourself in for a massage or going out to your favourite cafe by yourself with your favourite magazine.

Whatever your self care list looks like, keep it handy and refer to it often. This will also help remind you to make the time for self care! You can’t look after anyone else without looking after yourself first.

What other lists do you use each day?


  1. I love this! This is totally in my wheelhouse but a couple of the lists were awesome new ideas! I love your website and had a great laugh this morning checking out your videos on Facebook. ? Congratulations on your sweet little daughter. My daughter was born 7 years after my son and it was so precious to watch the relationship between them. Still is 13 years later.?

  2. I soon found after I retired 2 years ago (at 75 1/2) that none of those projects I had been looking forward to finally complete was even getting touched. Having gone from having 8-5 structured for decades to totally unstructured just wasn’t working for me.
    I now have weekly and daily to do lists but hadn’t thought to daily check my goals and express my gratitude. I’ve used Quicken for decades so ok with the budgeting. Thanks so much for including self care. I do need to get more structure on that but do go to Curves 4-5 days a week.
    Thanks so very much!!

  3. Nice list! I recently started bullet journaling and a lot of my lists get consolidated in that.

    As for the meal plan, since the time I have started batch cooking for a week every Sunday, it has become more or less redundant.

  4. I love your self care list idea. It is true that we often forget to take care of ourselves and our needs. So thank you for such an important idea.

  5. Wow! This list is so awesome. I was planning to change my lifestyle and to be responsible but I couldn’t catch up on the start or which on to be focused. Your list has shown me the way to where I should begin with. Lots of Thanks.

  6. Your list ideas are great. Do you have a meal planner template you use? I love the self-care list. So often, that goes by the wayside because we say, Oh I don’t have time for me…. whereas your list suggests just sitting down with a coffee and drinking it while it is hot.


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