This week’s post is a guest post by Maegan O’Loughlin of ThisBlueDress.com. Maegan, along with her five sisters, are all contributors to This Blue Dress, which is just one of the ways their blog stands out (be sure to read the story about THE Blue Dress – blog and social media links below). As soon as I read Maegan’s post for today, I knew I immediately had to try writing out my own 100 thing list, and I found that not only is it something right up my alley, it is something I think can be useful for many people out there! So, without further ado, read on for Maegan’s awesome 100 things list activity, and do one of your own!
I am a List Girl. I have all sorts of lists to help me stay on track with my goals and to help my family be somewhat organized. Sometimes though, too many long lists can make me feel guilty about all I’m NOT accomplishing. That is not a way to live intentionally and with joy!
When I find myself stuck in a rut, overwhelmed, or needing inspiration, I use a different kind of list that always helps me be more mindful: a 100 Things List.
How Do I Make a 100 Things List?
A 100 Things List is simply a brainstorming tool, no guilt here! You choose a question or topic and write 100 answers in one brief setting, without editing or worrying about repeats. This stretches your brain on the topic and will help you find out-of-the-box ideas or notice recurrent themes (repeat or similar answers).
I’d like to share a step-by-step process of the 100 Things List that has made the most impact on my life: 100 Things I’d Like to Do Before I Die.
- Set aside some alone time when you are alert and relaxed. I’m a busy mom of four and wear lots of hats, so I know it can sometimes be tricky to do! However, this exercise is much more effective when you can think clearly and without interruption. In my case, my husband took my kids for a little walk one Sunday afternoon.
- Choose a question/topic. In this case, it was my bucket list of things to do before I die. I’ve also done a list of things I would like to do in my spare time, things I would like to own or make, and things I want to write about. Your topic can be anything! 100 Things to make for dinner, things you’re grateful for, people who have influenced you for good, your spring bucket list. Anything.
- Use a word processor or notebook and write 100 answers related to your topic as fast as you can. I liked using Microsoft Word because I was able to have it numbered automatically and could type my answers quickly.
- After writing your list, take a short brain break. Get a drink of water, stretch, pray, meditate. Just something to refresh your mind before you focus again on your list.
- Highlight or record recurring themes or your favorite answers. With my Life Bucket List topic, I saw recurring themes of Service, Art, Family/Marriage goals. I made a little key with a color for each of these topics and highlighted items that fell under those themes. I also wrote twice that I want to learn how to make amazing tacos and pizza. 😊 This step is the most helpful for me in applying the list to my life. Am I making time to do these things that are really important to me?
How Can a 100 Things List Help Me Be More Mindful?
My 100 Things Lists have helped me be able to see what goals, dreams, and activities are most important to me in my life. Just one recent example: I have been doing a side-hustle for the past 18 months, and recently I’ve been resenting anytime I spend on it. I’ve made excuses to keep doing it because we’re working to get out of debt, and I’ve made sure it doesn’t cut into family time.
But when I reviewed my “100 Things I’d Like to Do Before I Die” for this post, I realized this side hustle doesn’t relate to a single item anymore!! So many other things on that list could help me earn money, not take me away from my family, and I would actually LOVE doing them!
Our lives are made up of many seemingly small, day-to-day decisions in how we use our time. I want to claim more of those minutes and seconds for meaningful things by consciously choosing the things that matter most to me!
Have you ever made a 100 Things List? It would be a great companion to Laura’s vision board exercise!
Maegan O’Loughlin is the oldest of six sisters who blog at ThisBlueDress.com. She loves to blog about living joyfully, family traditions, and practical tips for mothers and mothers-at-heart.