Community//

The Value of Opportunistic Lists

If you find yourself struggling to remember that movie your mom recommended last week, that book your friend recommended last year, or even the 3 items you were supposed to grab at the store, opportunistic lists are you new best friend.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

What do avoiding boredom and being prepared have in common? You can do both with an “opportunistic list”!

What’s an opportunistic list? It’s a list of things you want to do or try when the opportunity arises.

If you’ve ever been scrolling through Netflix looking for something, anything, that looks good to watch, wishing you could just remember the name of that movie your friend told you about last month that she said you’d love, then you are a prime candidate to become a keeper of “opportunistic lists”.

Opportunistic lists are a huge time-saver, and they ensure that you are spending more of your time doing the things you want to do, than remembering what those things were in the first place. Opportunistic lists ensure you’re never bored again!

I LOVE opportunistic lists, and I want to tell you about the ways that I use them:

GROCERY

I never sit down to write a grocery list. In fact, my grocery list is always up to date; that’s because as soon as I realize I’m running low on something, I add it to the list. Then, when I’m at the store, I can pick up what I need. Also, during this time of social distancing, where we’re relying on delivery, I can easily access this list and share it with my husband anytime he’s putting in an order.

TO WATCH (MOVIES/TV)

Every time I read about a movie or show that I think I’d like, I add it to the list. Every time someone recommends something to me that they think I’d like, I add it to the list. Then when I have time to watch something, I have a pre-curated list and all I have to do is check which platform it’s available on. No more scrolling, just waiting for something to catch my eye.

TO LISTEN TO

Ditto on the above. If I’m looking to listen to something new, I start with the list.

TO READ (FOR PLEASURE)

This is probably my longest list. There’s just so much I want to read. But because I add to this list whenever someone recommends something that sounds good, or when I run across something that sounds interesting, I’m never at a loss for something good to read.

In fact, I like to play what I call “library roulette”. I’ll add a few books from my list into my library hold list, and I’ll just read whatever comes first.

TO READ (FOR WORK)

All those articles and books that you want to read “someday” and that are relevant to the work you do need a place to live. This is that place. Don’t keep 100+ tabs open on your browser. Instead, add those articles to your “to read for work” list.

RESTAURANTS TO TRY

Find yourself going to the same old spots? Keep a “restaurants to try” list and make planning date-night or hanging out with friends even easier.

Want these places to still be around after quarantine, get delivery from them now!

GIFT IDEAS

You run across something your sister would really like, but her birthday isn’t for 6 months. Add it to the list. This way, you’ll never be running around hoping to find something on a moment’s notice.

But where should you keep these lists??

You might be wondering, OK, but where does one keep these lists?

For me, the answer is simple: In my single trusted system. I just have each of these lists in my task app, so it’s always available and I don’t have to remember where to look. (And the opportunistic lists in my task app are the only items that don’t have dates associated, since they are, by default, accessed when the time arises instead of vice versa.)

Now, for links/articles that you want to read later, you can always use a service like Pocket, but I actually like to keep this list in my task app because I find that if I have to manually transfer something to the list, I am a bit more discerning and realistic with myself as to whether I will ACTUALLY ever read this thing. And, if it’s an open tab that’s not worth adding to the list, and it’s not read by the end of the week, I declare “Tabruptcy” and delete them all, knowing that I’m never going to make the like to read them.

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