I always cd into the directory I want to do a listing on and do:
du -sh *
This will give you the output of all the files and directories of the present working directory instead of printing off every single file and subdirectory.
For example, I want to see the sizes of ever directory in my home directory:
tricky@fs1:~$ du -sh *
Without the -s in -sh, it will print every single file and subdirectory beyond, which just looks messy to me.