I’m not the only person who loves lists. So many articles and blog posts nowadays are based on lists. Yes, there’s the clickbait ones. You know, the ones you get in your social media feeds from random websites with weird pictures and lists that go on forever. Or from Buzzfeed who’re experts in producing them.
I did my own straw poll about lists, and found that 91% people like lists (ok, it was a small poll of under 50 people, but that’s a pretty high percentage).
We love lists for different reasons. Whether for emotional reasons and to cherish memories. For practical purposes, like a to do list, or inventories. For inbuilt psychological reasons, they’re easy to understand by the brain. Or to collate trivia and facts, for knowledge.
Lists know no bounds, and should be celebrated and enjoyed.
Here’s some of the reasons why lists are so popular with so many people.
Why lists are so popular
1. They can be a good reminder for things we need to do.
2. They provide structure and guidance. Humans love order.
3. They can be fun.
4. They can be a way to stay organised and multi-task.
5. They’re ingrained from an early age, from learning lists of spellings, times tables, listening to music Top 40.
6. They’re satisfying when you can tick things off, whether it’s a to do list, or countries of the world you’ve visited, a packing list.
7. They teach you how to make things – tutorials tend to be in list format.
8, They can lead to great recipes.
9. They can stop procrastination by breaking big jobs into smaller tasks making them less daunting and more approachable.
10. They allow for comparison and competition.
11. They’re visually appealing – much nicer to read than a chunk of writing. The brain reads and takes in small chunks of information, so lists are easier to take in.
12. They can be read easily, and quickly, by skimming over the information.
13. We know what we’re getting when we read a list. There’s usually a title and often a number telling us how many points are in the list. Then it covers the answers to what you’re looking for.
14. Online lists give us more focus from all the other distractions on the page.
15. If there’s a number in the title, we know how much there is to go to reach the end.
16. A list makes you feel like you have the definitive answer once you’ve got to the bottom of it.
17. They can prove you right. If you want to find out the Top 10 action movies, you can compare your own choices and be validated by the list (or choose to pour scorn on it if it’s way off).
18. They’re easy to write. A list provides a structure, there’s no need to go off track, and they’re easy to finish.
19. They can help people meet goals, by setting out the steps to reach the overall objective.
A study at Dominican University of California found once you put pen to paper on a goal — you are 33 percent more likely to actually achieve it.
20. They can prevent overwhelm. Sticking to a short list of 3 items means it’s easier to focus (Rule of 3).
21. They provide an easy way to compare one thing against another.
22. They can be a deciding factor in decisions that need to be made, try a pros and cons list, or price comparisons.
23. They can be a personal boost, whether you’re listing all the things you like about someone (or yourself). But also, managing to tick off everything on your daily to do list may make you happy.
Now it’s your turn to go and write your list!
Drop a comment below what you like about lists.