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Finding Confidence Via “The List” Method

by Sabrena Gartland |

Whether you’re part of the gig economy, working the hustle constantly, or working a day job where the grind is getting to you, or trying to find a job that fits your needs, it’s entirely possible that, here and there, your confidence can wane. Especially when the pressure is on you to somehow benefit from an economy that isn’t built for you, it can be hard to keep that confidence, or to build it back up. This is where “The List” comes in.

The author John Fig knows all about waning confidence, and has written about what he calls “the only productivity app” he needs, something he inherited from a friend, called “The List.” It’s an incredibly simple method of tracking not progress, not even goals, but accomplishments. They key? Write them down, no matter how small.

How Does the List Work?

We often take our own accomplishments for granted – even the big ones – and simply writing them down is an acknowledgment of the work we’ve done to get where we are. Sometimes the list might only consist of small accomplishments, even ones you wouldn’t normally look at as important. This s the key to making The List work. Writing everything down helps you appreciate your accomplishment in the moment, locking it in place for you. If you have trouble recalling it later, as we often do, especially when depressed, going back to an increasingly longer list is an immediate confidence boost.

How Do You Format the List?

While this is entirely up to you, Fig formats his list relatively simply, and follows a few simple rules:

  • The list is entitled only whatever the current year is, for instance “2022”
  • This is followed up by an accomplishment, one per line
    • This can be something as simple as “I found a penny on the ground” or as grand as “I won the lottery today”
  • The accomplishments are then appended by today’s date
  • Start over the next day, and try and do it every day
  • This can be in your notes app, a physical notebook, a text file, word document, a private blog, wherever

What Are Some Companions to The List?

The list is all about mindfulness, but fortunately doesn’t have any rules, so you can expand on it all you like. It’s more in the spirit of The List to expand on it in your way, but here are some suggestions as to where you might start:

  • Sketching out your favorite accomplishments in a sketchbook
  • Use past accomplishments and branch them out to see what goals you’re already working toward (perhaps without realizing it)
  • Expand on your favorite moments in a journal, blog or voice memo to realize what they mean to you


Finding methods of building confidence are not always easy, so picking something simple like The List can help get you back into the groove, remembering where you once were. The List is not intended as something to push you to “the next level,” but rather a tool to help you appreciate where you already are, as well as the work it took to get you here.