What’s a “Life List” and How Can It Help You?

I’ve already discussed my Bucket List with you. Now, I want you to take a moment. Write down all the components of your life that are important to you. Some of them are important to you because you love them. Some are important because they are fun. Some are important because they help you achieve your goals (even if you don’t enjoy doing them). And some are important because they bring order to your life. Take a moment and write them all down.

I can tell you haven’t started yet. You are asking, “um, Mr. NYBudget, WHY am I doing this?” Ok, you have a fair point. Let me back up and tell you why I created my first Life List.


I was getting a little overwhelmed. I had a full time job, a full time girlfriend, hobbies, blogging, and I was starting to look into real estate, all while wanting to enjoy the city. I was so stressed out one day, that I decided I needed to create a list. Making “To Do” lists generally de-stresses me and making grocery lists makes the shopping experience easier for me as well, so I thought, hey, I’ll create a Life List. Maybe that will help my stress levels.

I wrote down all the pieces of my life that were important to me and that played a major role in the way I lived. Since then, I have tweaked it a bit, and today, it looks something like this:

Life List
The Life List will surely change over time.

Pretty simple, right? It took me about 5 minutes to create, total and  once I was done, I printed it out and posted it on my bulletin board. Creating a Life List has been beneficial in a number of surprising ways:

  1. De-Stress – as I mentioned, just dumping all of the pieces of life that were jumbled in my mind felt great.
  2. Remember Areas of Your Life – I have started looking at this list every day and asking myself if I need to take action in each area on the list. It’s easy to forget about one area of your life for a while, but because of this list, my girlfriend gets more random flowers. I try to rally my band to jam together more often*. I remember to actually call my parents (I have been bad at this in the past). It’s easier to take small actions towards the areas of my life that are important.
  3. Perspective – I am working towards financial independence (having enough passive income through investments that I don’t need a job, whether or not I choose to have one). Many people who have reached financial independence and have chosen to quit their jobs find that they are bored and lost without the purpose a job brings. When I look at my Life List, I have no fear of having a similar fate if I choose to quit. My job is one, small piece of my life, of who I am and who I want to be. If I cut that piece out, my life would still be full. In fact, I would have even more time to focus even more on other areas.

So now do you see the benefits of a Life List? And how little time it takes to create one? So take 5 minutes and create your Life List now. Then post it where you will see it every day and let me know if it helps you in the ways it has helped me.

Am I missing anything from my Life List (I’m SURE I am)? What else would you add to yours that I may have overlooked?

*If you’re interested in checking out my band, I recently wrote a guest post about it over at BudgetsAreSexy.com.

Like this post? Sign up to receive posts via email and never miss a tip for living well and saving money!


18 thoughts on “What’s a “Life List” and How Can It Help You?

  1. Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life March 10, 2014 at 8:55 am

    I have to prioritize my life list. For example, exercise is an almost daily activity whereas happy hour fun is less frequent (but still important).
    Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life recently posted: EMOTIONS AND MONEYMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget March 10, 2014 at 10:09 am

      I definitely have my various priorities. I find that I can internalize that pretty effectively. In fact, my list really helps the most with the activities I do less often and with less frequency – parts of life that I could easily lose track of.

  2. Andrew@LivingRichCheaply March 10, 2014 at 9:25 am

    I have a mental list, but it’s probably better to have an actual list that you can see, so you can remind yourself of the priorities in your life.
    Andrew@LivingRichCheaply recently posted: Are Personal Finance Bloggers “Pound Foolish”?My Profile

    • Mr NYBudget March 10, 2014 at 10:10 am

      Right – I find just being able to glance at it every day helps. Even if I don’t act on each item every day, it’s nice to have a moment to think about each part of your life every day.

  3. Shannon @ Financially Blonde March 10, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    I am a big fan of lists and typically keep mine in my phone. Whenever I feel “off-balanced” by what is swimming around in my brain, I break out the phone and either start a new list or consult with the previous one. It helps re-balance my life and my brain.
    Shannon @ Financially Blonde recently posted: Music Mondays – Brown Eyed GirlMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget March 10, 2014 at 3:43 pm

      They are great to clear things up in your mind. This is the first time I have dabbled with a more permanent list though, one where I am not crossing off items as I go.

  4. Well Heeled Blog March 11, 2014 at 1:59 am

    I don’t have a list, per se, but I do try to be more intentional about how I spend my time. I.e., if I want to unwind by watching 2 hours of TV or web-surfing, I will. But that should be a conscious decision, instead of the internet + TV being a default time-suck.
    Well Heeled Blog recently posted: Having More Dates (and my thoughts on a long distance marriage)My Profile

    • Mr NYBudget March 11, 2014 at 8:23 am

      It’s all about conscious decisions – whether you’re talking about money, time, etc – conscious decisions will improve quality of life so much!

  5. John @ Frugal Rules March 11, 2014 at 10:01 am

    I don’t have a specific list, well I do but it’s a mental one, but can see how incredibly helpful this can be. We get so busy with other things that it’s easy to let things slide by and forget, or not have time for, what is truly important to us. I’m a big believer in to-do lists and use those regularly so thanks for the encouragement.
    John @ Frugal Rules recently posted: Should You Date a Guy Who Doesn’t Pay for Dinner?My Profile

    • Mr NYBudget March 11, 2014 at 10:05 am

      It’s very easy just to write out a quick list and post it somewhere – give it a try!

  6. Mel @ brokeGIRLrich March 11, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    It’s great you keep it posted somewhere that it’s so easy to see. Lists definitely seem to make organizing life a little easier.
    Mel @ brokeGIRLrich recently posted: A Day in the Life of a Circus Stage ManagerMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget March 11, 2014 at 5:05 pm

      Sure does! The visibility every day and the permanence is what is really new for me.

  7. Phil March 12, 2014 at 1:15 am

    My list is more or less in my mind, and I add or take away from it. My top items are usually exercise, relationship, job, fun, eating, and finances. Followed by a bunch of others. I think it’s ever changing.
    Phil recently posted: Balls of steel at Modern Pinball NYC!My Profile

    • Mr NYBudget March 12, 2014 at 7:58 am

      The ever changing aspect is key. I definitely plan on updating that list at least once a year.

  8. EL @ Moneywatch101 March 12, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    I enjoy making lists too. I don’t know if it will help me have less stress as it did for you. The more I focus and look at something I tend to think about it to much. I do have a bucket list.
    EL @ Moneywatch101 recently posted: The Last Hundred DollarsMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget March 12, 2014 at 3:32 pm

      I think it de-stressed me because I have so much going on when historically, I have been lazy and not taken on as many challenges.

  9. Ryan @ Impersonal Finance March 13, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    I like this idea. I’m not one for to-do lists, as somehow they always make me feel like I have more to do, despite it being designed to help. I do like the idea of the life list. Sometimes you get so bogged down with the little things and the day to day drudgery of work, traffic, bills, etc., you forget the bigger picture. I dig it man.
    Ryan @ Impersonal Finance recently posted: the classics of personal financeMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget March 13, 2014 at 5:20 pm

      Thanks! It has definitely been helpful for me. And right, there is not specific thing you have to do. It doesn’t create the urgency stress that a to-do list sometimes does.

Leave a Reply

Name *
Email *

CommentLuv badge