Give Me One Good Reason Why You’re Not Creating Lists WITH Your Kids


June 23, 2016


I’ve dedicated my WorkFlowy book to my daughter:

For Emma-Pearl: Each Pomodoro spent on this book meant less beach time for you. Though you don’t yet know all about lists and productivity, you’re on almost all of my lists… and hands down, the #1 beneficiary of my @Future-me tag.

I’m going to need to change this up a tad, because my daughter has caught on to list making in a big way since my book came out. I’m kicking myself for not having taught her about making lists much sooner. You know… little human beings are much more capable than we give them credit for. If you’re not making lists with your kids yet, you’re seriously missing out – it’s so much freaking fun!

What we know so far

This is what Emma-Pearl knows: She knows that I do most of the things on my lists… so she knows to ask me to put everything she really, really wants me to remember to do into WorkFlowy. Like the really, really long list of gifts she wants me to buy for her upcoming birthday.

She also knows about a couple of lists that are all about her. Take this tag index for example:

Emma knows that I can click on the #Mon tag to get a list of her books to pack for Monday, including her ballet accouterment and other miscellaneous goodies. That’s some of the stuff she knows I can do with her lists. Now she knows that she can create lists with me. That broadens things, because she knows she has a certain degree of control over her destiny… her mini destiny, that is – a couple of things she is destined to do #Today, #NextWeek or #Soon.

Get your list face on

We make lists together: Lists of things we’re going to do over the weekend. Lists of pancake ingredients. Lists of all the kids in her class. The list goes on… Here’s a simple list of activities I put together with her help last Saturday (in WorkFlowy):

List building and learning

The moment your kids can sort of read, you should start creating lists together. It’s a great learning and skill-building opportunity in many ways: there’s spelling, organization, time management, decision making, etc. As you can see above, Emma’s lists are a mix of Portuguese and English – because we live in Brazil.

Don’t be surprised when your kids settle down and ask 50% less questions because they know what’s happening with their little lives. They know where they stand. It has a calming effect (I suppose… my sample consists of one unusually organized little subject). In any event, don’t we all warm to something when we believe it was our idea to begin with? Therein lies the power of creating lists with our kids. It’s the perfect place to teach kids about making compromises and meeting one another in the middle. They might need to make the agonizing choice between a Monster High doll and a Furby Boom… or (homemade) hot dogs VS. burgers for lunch.

Your accountability buddy

Emma watches the time like Gollum watches his ring, waiting for the perfect moment to strike: she ruthlessly and triumphantly announces that it’s time to act on a list item – no protests from myself allowed. She  holds me to what I’ve plotted out on our list. In her book, if it’s on our list, it’s as good as a promise. It’s like having a live, interactive human alert… It’s also like having a really vocal conscience that tells you it’s time to stop working and engage in some of those “Not Urgent and Important” Eisenhower matrix items you know you should be doing – like the beach time you’d otherwise miss out on. With WorkFlowy, Emma is like my little accountability buddy. I’ve got to be extra careful what I put on my lists now! (Be careful who you list for – it might just come true!)

The font of youth

Build your lists in the desktop browser app. That way you get to use some fun free boyish fonts

… or some decorative girlish fonts

Tips and further resources

Get EXCLUSIVE bite-sized  WorkFlowy  updates: tips, tricks & news about FREE online workshops with Frank Degenaar. Sign up here.

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7 years ago

I finally have WorkFlowy buddies in my family. Sarah, my 8 year old granddaughter, who is a prolific writer, actually asked me to set up a WorkFlowy account for her.

7 years ago
Reply to  Bob

Holy moly, that’s incredibly awesome! Wish I’d had my own WorkFlowy account when I was 8 years old. This will help her invaluably with organization. Need I say more?!

7 years ago

Guys, you have inspired me to make lists with my grandkids. They may be interested in using WorkFlowy even if their parents aren’t.

7 years ago
Reply to  Bob

You’re going to make them interested, Bob 🙂 So many bribes to put into lists…

7 years ago

Hey Richard… great that you’re about to kick your collaborative list-making up a notch 🙂

May the list be with you…

Richard Bird
7 years ago

I have plenty of lists that pertain to my Daughter, but none that I made with her. I will give this a try! She definitely falls in the same category of – If it is on the list, it is a promise, not a maybe… My wife and I are never allowed to forget what is on our lists when she knows what is on the list. 🙂

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Workflowy replaces your notebooks, stickies and bloated apps with a simple, smooth digital notebook that makes it easy to get organized and be productive.