NDSU Extension - Sargent County


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The Power of the List

The Power of the List 12/8/17Growing up “on the banks of Plum Creek” and attending high school in Walnut Grove, Minnesota, I enjoyed science and math classes.  Mr. Tellefson (Mr. T) was my teacher for all science classes including biology, chemistry and physics.  Sometimes the homework assignments or tests for his classes had a “fill in the blank” portion.  If so, Mr. T. usually provided a word bank or word list from which we needed to choose the correct word or words to fill in the blanks. 

Invariably, some students would be sure that there was at least one word missing from that list, because it was a word they though was needed to fill in one of the blanks, and they weren’t finding it on the list.  So they would ask Mr. T. for permission to use the word they were thinking of that wasn’t on the list.  He would never say “no,” but instead, his answer, every time, was, “You are limited to the list.”  Being limited to the list was a key to success on those “fill-in-the-blank” assignments and tests. 

Making a list and limiting ourselves to what is on the list is also a key to success in avoiding making impulse purchases.

Many of us are often faced with temptations to buy things we don’t need or cannot afford. Having a list can be a very useful tool for savvy consumers.  It helps us remember things we need, and avoid the “other” things.  The sense of self-discipline and being in control that comes from reining ourselves in can be very empowering.

Dedicated list-makers also take a certain amount of satisfaction in crossing items off their lists as they are completed or acquired because it gives them a sense of accomplishment.  Perhaps you are able to identify with that!

Lists can be made for things to buy, wishes/wants, places to go, and things to do.  When any list has several items on it, managing it becomes a matter of prioritizing it.  The items on the list can be numbered in order.  Prioritizing our “things to buy” list helps us purchase the most important items first.

If making lists on the palm of your hand, napkins, loose pieces of paper, sticky notes, and notebooks hasn’t been working for you, perhaps it’s time to make friends with technology and use built-in features or apps on your mobile device to help you out. 

Photo Source:  https://pixabay.com/en/checklist-lists-business-form-41335/  (downloaded 12/12/17)



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