[Lessons Learned] 30 lists of 30 challenge

Random Observation/Comment #282: you know what’s better than starting a project? Finishing one.


30 lists in 30 days. It was easier to write the lists up than expected, but certainly a challenge to schedule time to write them out in one sitting. Definitely do this if you feel stuck and need to evaluate a stance on a position because lists naturally organize. I found the first 15 or so to be easy, the last 5-10 to require a lot more deep thought, and the final 3-4 extra ones that pop in a few days later to ruin the order of the original list.

As a bonus list, here are 30 lessons learned from 30 lists of 30.

  1. Have fun with it. Don’t take your lists too seriously because they’re all for you.
  2. Write it when you’re in a good mood. Put off writing it if you feel negative or down because the lists seem to take dark turns
  3. Incorporate writing the list into a routine. I chose the morning commute so the last 4-5 could be thought about throughout the day
  4. Make sure you give yourself enough time.
  5. Find a way to update your list on mobile. Sometimes thoughts come in along the day for the tough ones.
  6. Don’t be too concerned about making it perfect.
  7. Edit your list if you want to, but don’t dwell over 31 to 35. You can always have honorable mentions.
  8. Don’t be too concerned about being judged. Especially for the favorite songs and movies, I felt a little stressed because people will automatically peg me as a certain character if I don’t pick their favorites.
  9. It’s not someone else’s list, it’s your own. The product of this list does not need to be shared (although it’s cooler when it is).
  10. Write it for yourself. Learn for yourself as well.
  11. Be honest. I think this exercise works when you empty all the existing social norms and just be yourself.
  12. Do some research if you need to. Especially with quotes, I needed to look them up from somewhere and remember any adages taught by older mentors.
  13. To help with making the list, break the 30 into 3 or 4 categories. For example, it’s easier to write 3 lists of top 10 movies in action, comedy, and anime than 30 generic movies.
  14. Tie favorites to events in your life. I thought a lot about favorite songs to when I had my Walkman listening to my brothers cd mixes on the bus commute to school.
  15. Make the first and last one on your list important. Although I didn’t put any ordering to the list, I know people tend to skim quickly and spend the most time reading the first and last entries. I purposefully put more emphasis on those as 1 the most obvious and 30 the most fun-loving
  16. Be social with it. Share your challenge with friends and maybe poll the audience.
  17. Get creative. If you get stuck, try interpreting the list in different ways. For example, interesting people could be past, present, or future or things to do could span shorter or larger periods of time.
  18. Think outside the box. Writing more of these taught me to think weirder and more differently.
  19. Dig deep. A lot of the harder lists made me think broader and deeper about my life. It was a great reflection tool the almost replaced my journals
  20. Be thankful. Writing these lists made me realize how many great things we’ve all accomplished and how much more there can be done.
  21. Organize your thoughts. Writing this list helped me sort out some of those Most Important Things
  22. Know your givens. Writing these lists made it more clear to me what I have to gain and lose.
  23. Look for patterns. Writing these lists surprisingly connected a lot of dots in my head. The process was very rewarding.
  24. Bigger picture. Look at the story your lists tell you as a whole and when pieced together. I’ve found a happy medium to all of this.
  25. Follow your own pace. I think this is an exercise that requires significant thought and should not be rushed. Even if you don’t finish in one setting or in one day, I recommend finishing at your own pace because it will feel good seeing it all written out.
  26. Use lists everyday. These summaries are surprisingly useful in other facets. I’ve ported them over for writing emails and sorting thoughts in general.
  27. Think about the little things. While writing the list, I really put more thought into those memorable moments and did my best to connect all of them coherently in my brain.
  28. Don’t over think it. Sometimes it’s easier to just go with the flow.
  29. Take the second step. Don’t just leave lists as they are. If you wrote a full to do list or things you want to learn, take action and plan smaller things for the next 4 weeks. If you do a bigger challenge every month, you can easily put together your 3 year plan.
  30. Do this challenge with someone else. I did this with my gf and felt so good sharing our similar favorite things and moments.

There are so many more lists I want to write and I’ll probably create a separate section just for this. Like here.

~See Lemons Still Love Lists