We know teachers make lists, in fact we all do. Why is it that we like lists and what can they do for us?

Although this is a general article there are some really good reasons why as a teacher or a learner we may make use of a list. Here are my five top reasons for making a list.

No – Only joking. See how easy it is.

At some point we all make lists but have you ever stopped to think why.  There is even a website dedicated to giving you lists of things you may never have thought of. So before you pop off to http://listverse.com/  to get your list fix here are some of the reasons I think we like lists, and yes it is a list!

1) When we feel under pressure to do many things making a list helps us organise our thinking. This can reduce stress and offer us a reward as we tick things off our “To-Do” list.

2) Lists reassures us that if it is on the list we will not forget anything. Apart that is from putting it on the list in the first place perhaps!

3) Making a list helps us to think and to analyse. Try this one. List five things about reading that helps children to learn.

4) Lists help us to prioritise. For example in deciding what is more important or what should be done first.

5) Lists can save us time.  Doing things in a logical order can mean less travelling, less shuffling back and forth and less preparation or set up time.

6) Lists can save us money. If time is money then saving time saves money too. A list can stop us being frivolous, especially when shopping. If it is not on the list then it does not go in the basket. List can help us keep a track of our spending.

7) Lists can help us recognise where we stand. Being top of the class, second in line to the throne or being “last in and first out” all mean something to us and it is all down to lists.

8) Lists help us to keep track of where we are and what we are doing. A list of books by author so you read them in the right order is very useful.  For example a list of things I must do to be successful.  A “Bucket list” may be the ultimate list in this respect!

9) Lists can help us create excuses and reasons. I want you home by 10:00pm tonight because…. . Many lists start with us saying “because”! Why? Because … . (nearly gave in there!)

10) Lists help you exercise your fingers. Watch people count down their lists and often they will use their fingers to keep track of where they are. Perhaps that is why we like our lists in 10’s.

I will rather conveniently stop there and no it is not because I have run out of fingers. It is because sometimes you spend more time on making a list than actually doing something!

Time to do something rather than making a list of things to do!

You realise too that lists make us competitive. How many more reasons for lists can you think of to add to my list?