checklist, check, rectangles

The Shopping List Technique: Part 2

Practical example of the ‘Shopping List Technique’


Welcome back to my blog, where we focus on anything growth related, from personal growth and business growth to nurturing growth within your team both technically and personally.

The feedback from last month’s blog post, Being Efficient: The Shopping List Technique, showed me two very important things:  Firstly, people are hungry for strategies with an element of freedom involving techniques which they can tailor fit to their own unique lifestyles rather than blindly following a self-help book and attempting to fit their lives within the books rules.  Secondly, people are yearning to know more about the ‘Shopping List Technique.  I therefore decided to do another three posts related to this topic and in the process, provide a real life and personal perspective into how I implement this technique through a practical example.

Let’s get practical.

So without further ado, here is my list from one Saturday last month (the rest are somewhere in the bin already, but I am actually quite happy I found this one since it ticks a lot of boxes).  I also deliberately looked for a weekend example since I am sure no one wants to read about me optimizing reactors  and sizing valves at work 😊.

The Shopping List Technique

When do you set up the ‘Shopping List’?

There is no right or wrong time to set up your ‘shopping list’.  The important part is just that it gets set up before you start. I like to set up my list the night before.  It just gives me an early start and helps me to tick off my first task nice and early the following day.  I found that sometimes when it is not ready for me in the morning, then I procrastinate doing it and then never get around to what actually needs to be done.  I set this one up the Friday evening before after our 2 year old went to bed (you’ll see him on the list as well 😊).  If you don’t know where to start or what to put on the list, check out part 1 of this blog series, Being Efficient: The Shopping List Technique.


I have a list, now what? What is the secret?

Once we have our lists, we are almost there already.  Now we just need to prioritise the actions and set minimum requirements  as a basis to allow us to decide when an item can be ticked off.  This is actually quite important, let’s talk about prioritising for the rest of this blog, since it is the key to success here.

How the list becomes something incredible.

The list thus far is not much different to a normal to-do list.  The power comes in when we prioritise the items on it and this is crucial to get right.  The key is to be completely honest with what is the most important for you to get done on this given day.  This may sound easy, but it requires us to put things aside such as: how long will it take me, how difficult will it be, what resources do I need to get this done, who will help me to do it, etc.?  It is here where the secret of the list lies.  If we can re-arrange the list purely based on what is the most important to get done today, then we are on the right track.  Once again, personal preference and adaptability is evident here.  We can all have our own criteria of importance.  For some it might be family goals for the day, getting things done around the house, setting up for a party, sneaking in some of the week’s work.  It really does not matter what is the most important provided we are completely honest with ourselves on what it is.  Rearrange your list accordingly then.

Some tips 

Having a digital list on an App like Microsoft To-Do really helps.  That is what I use in the week, but on weekends I want to put my phone down so I write out my list old school style and then put numbers next to each line to assign its priority.  I am going to put my own neck on the line here and be really open and personal by showing you how my priorities looked from the above-mentioned sheet.

The Shopping List Technique


What if I know I won’t complete all of this?

If you look at my list, or even your own and think “There is no way I am getting through all of this.” Then you are 100% correct.  Remember, we are setting ourselves up to get through the most number of items possible and be more efficient than we currently are. We are not trying to convince Father Time to add hours 25, 26 and 27 to Big Ben (although that might have helped). The objective remains to start at priority number 1 and run down the list as far as the day allows us to.  By doing this, we know we got the maximum number of things done which actually made a difference and needed to be done.  Being busy is not the definition of success here.  Getting the most important things done is the key to opening one’s schedule.

What is next?

This was quite a mouth full thus far, but I don’t want to leave out any detail.  It is important that this technique is fully understood, otherwise it won’t be as effective as I am finding it to be.  So, let’s call it a day for now.

Be sure to check in next week for my follow up post where I will discuss how to set minimum criteria for each one of your tasks to allow you to tick them off and go a on.

To be sure you don’t miss it, sign up for my newsletter which will inform you every time a new blog comes out and also share some other insightful material. Follow this link to sign up: Renier Louwrens Newsletter


Sign Up for my monthly newsletter.For free content on how to get the most out of your life, fill in your details below!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *