Why Do People Love Lists? 10 Reasons Why People Love Lists
See what I did there?
But really, lists are everywhere!? Are you writing lists? (I'm going to throw some lists in here for fun too!)
I'm a list FREAK! I sometimes write things on my list that I already did just to cross them off. What is it about lists? I'm not an OCD person but the organization of a list just makes me feel better. Tim, on the other hand, is not. He has no idea how much is in his checking account and has a rough idea of what needs to get done sometime in the near future. That drives me crazy, but it's not my life, so as long as his non-list agenda doesn't interfere with my list-agenda, we're good. HA!
But what is it about lists? I'll tell you, but yes, I will give you 10 reasons why we love lists:
#1.Our brain is hardwired to accept things in an organized way.
Whenever we encounter new information, our brains immediately try to make sense of it. Putting things in a list format makes it much easier to digest and it saves time as well, tricking our brains into assuming it's more efficient.
#2. It's easier on our brains.
In this world of constant information overload, doing things in list format helps us to break it up, compartmentalize, and sift out the things we really don't need. Putting it in list format makes it easy for our brains to do that.
#3. It makes it easy to scan for the information we want.
How often do you read newspaper articles or online news sources where you just read the headlines or the bullet points? We feel that we get enough information from the headings and the titles to make up our own mind. For instance, did you actually read this entire synopsis of #3? Good job if you did.
#4. We don't want to miss out.
Clicking on a list of something seems easy, to the point, easy to digest, and we don't want to miss out on what those things are, whatever it is, be it the 10 best ice creams in the world or the five reasons you're killing yourself right now.
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#5. We know what we're getting.
Usually, a list will tell us exactly what the content is about. There's no catchy innuendos or click beat advertisements when it comes to a list (usually). We know what we are getting when we click on the link.
#6. We want to be proved right.
Maybe we already know what's on the list and simply by reading over it gives us at endorphin rush that we were right all along.
#7. We know how much content is left.
Have you ever read an article where you think this has to be the end and yet there's another page or just goes on and on? At least with the list, you know when you're nearing the end and there's a sense of accomplishment and completion.
#8. We can process the information we want and sift out the things we don't need.
If you knew some of the things already on the list you can sift those out and add to your bucket of knowledge on the particular subject. You feel a sense of completion, and endorphin rush because now you've added to your knowledge, and you can go about your day feeling a little bit more put together.
#9. It's the illusion that reading a short number of things will make you more successful at something.
Maybe you've read a list so that you can regurgitate it at that family reunion or company meeting. Simply gathering a little bit more information on a subject by reading through the list will give you the extra push you need into adding to your knowledge base.
#10. We are lazy.
Yep, it's as simple as that. There is so much going on in our life that we are looking for the quickest, shortest, and easiest way to get the information we need and move on with our day. I mean, I literally just saw an ad the other day for a robot style vacuum that pulls the weeds in your garden for you. Yes, really.
So, what is your next list going to be about? Try to group it in sizable chunks that are easy to understand such as three, five, or 10. Any more than that and your readers could get fatigued. Choosing numbers that are pretty random such as 6 or 37, are just not as eye-catching as an even 10.