Book review: Learn the art of making a list with 'Listful Thinking'

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

It's no wonder that sometimes you're cross.

Your schedule is overloaded, and so is your memory: phone numbers, grocery needs, calls to return, client wants, arguments to make. Blink, and there's a new restaurant to try or it's time for that meeting. How can you be expected to remember it all?

Write this down: Listful Thinking by Paula Rizzo.

Author Rizzo says learning the art of list making can help alleviate the stress of a chaotic life. By creating a list system that works for you, tasks can be prioritized and ideas remembered, you'll more easily focus on immediacies, and you'll feel a sense of accomplishment when you check off what you've finished.

To get started, know what kind of list you need. What you'll add to a packing list, say, will differ from what you'll want to remember for work.

Next, decide where you'll put your list, so it best serves its purpose. For a "fun list," a pocket-sized journal may be perfect. Rizzo says she keeps a spiral-bound notebook for ideas at work. You can go digital or plaster the walls with sticky-notes.

Whatever works for you-and "You know yourself better than anyone can"-the first step is to "Just write it down." Then organize and prioritize. As issues occur, you can add them to your list; conversely, you'll feel good when you eliminate tasks and see progress. Finally, before you leave work for the day, write a new list for tomorrow and refresh it first thing in the morning.

As someone whose life is run by scraps of paper, I was eager to see what was inside Listful Thinking. I was pleased… and I was puzzled.

Author Rizzo has "glazomania" (a passion for list making) and it shows in this enthusiastic book filled with ideas and suggestions. What you'll find here is easy-to-understand and approachable.

On the other hand, there are some things that probably won't fly at work: wasted time on repeated list re-writes and not answering phone calls without prior appointment are just a few of the head-scratchers I found.

Still, the hopelessly overwhelmed will surely find help inside Listful Thinking, and it could get new employees up to speed quicker. If you're on top of your game and already know how to make lists, though, just cross this one off.

Listful Thinking

Paula Rizzo, Viva Editions

$15.95, 228 pages