List Making Tips

The Magic of List Making: 6 Ways To Get More Done

Our book Being Boss: Take Control of Your Work and Live Life on Your Own Terms was born out of almost a decade of conversations about creativity, productivity, habits, money, “fraudy” feelings, systems, processes, and balancing family and career.

You see, we started building our own businesses in branding (that’s Kathleen’s jam) and developing websites and successful online business platforms (where Emily finds her groove) for other creative entrepreneurs, freelancers, and side-hustlers who were knocking out their passion projects outside of their 9-to-5 at a time when all of our friends and family were collecting steady paychecks and benefits from their own bosses. The world of eCommerce was still uncharted territory and we weren’t only figuring it out as we went – we were paving the way. Who you work with can make or break how satisfied you are with your job – so when you’re working for yourself, even if you’re building your dream job, it can be isolating and lonely. Without peers to show you the ropes and mentors to guide you along the way, it’s easy to get lost in the daily grind or worse: paralyzed from taking the next steps.

We were a couple of creatives who were craving connection and conversation. Every couple of weeks we would hop on a video call and talk shop. After a year or two of this we decided to hit publish on our “business bestie” conversations and release them in a podcast called Being Boss. Our show caught on quickly; we became the go-to podcast for other creatives and aspiring entrepreneurs who wanted to hear insights and real talk about what it takes to do the work. “Do the work” has become our motto – because making a living doing what you love isn’t always easy and it takes hard work. Being boss means getting in the right mindset, cultivating confidence, practicing productive habits, setting healthy boundaries, finding your tribe, and really nurturing the lifestyle you want to live beyond the work that you do.


Making a list is one of the key tools for achieving success that we’ve picked up along the way.

By creating lists for yourself, you reduce the time you have to spend figuring out what to do next, because the answer is right in front of you on your lists! They hold your ideas, goals, and tasks so that you know exactly where to go and what to do when it’s time to start working. We like having a notebook on our desk and a text file on our phones for keeping track of our lists.


Once a week, create a long list of the things you need to accomplish that week. We oftentimes create this list on a Sunday night as a way to decompress from the ideas bumping around in our heads, to help us chill for those last few hours of le weekend, and to prepare for the week ahead.


Check your weekly list and move the most important or time-sensitive items over to your list-of-the-day, queued up for completion. Do this each day of your week until your weekly to-do list is completed!


Any large project that needs to be completed, especially if it will take longer than a week, gets its own list. Write down every task from start to finish (don’t worry about getting all of them; you’ll remember more along the way), and divvy them up among your weekly lists. Then get to work!


Bosses gotta eat. Meal planning and grocery shopping is something most of us must do! By creating a meal plan and grocery list each week, you define what you need and don’t need to get at the grocery store, save yourself time because you’re most likely to get everything in a single trip, and know exactly what you’re going to eat for each meal in your week. It’s the holy grail in saving you time, money, and energy.


Want a new mattress, a replacement dining room chair, a new tool for your business? We all have wants, so why not keep a list? Our want list is filled with all the things that we desire but don’t need to purchase in this moment. But when the time comes, it’s easy to whip out our list and check off the next important thing! Or share it when it’s time for gift-giving—your mom will thank you for finally being easy to buy for.


As a creative, you’re never lacking for ideas! By capturing them on a list, you’ll never have one slip away again. Keep a list of those brain nuggets in a little notebook that you carry with you, or on your smartphone for fast access. Then, when it’s time to create, you’ll have a bucket to access to get you started!

Reprinted with permission from BEING BOSS © 2018 by Kathleen Shannon and Emily Thompson, Running Press

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