Recently, we traveled to Tanzania for a safari – it was everything we hoped for, and more. You might ask “why Tanzania?” – simple, it was on my wife’s bucket list. Amazing that an item on a list can be so powerful to have us travel 7,600 miles for a trip of a lifetime.
The reality is that lists help you get things done: project planning, shopping, presents, life goals, sports line-ups, books to read, places to visit and what to remember at the grocery store.
Author Blue Billiet says it this way: “I love the way a list makes a big hodgepodge of things simmer down and behave.” Life is hectic and can result in feeling overwhelmed – which can find us frozen in place.
We often face the battle of what’s urgent versus what’s important.
A good to-do list has five to seven tasks on it. While there is no magic number, studies suggest that we struggle to make decisions when presented with more options than that.
Try to keep your to-do list focused on a week at a time – that way, you can complete an item on your list by the end of each day.
My friend and mentor, Paul Riecks, taught me the joy of crossing something off my list and the benefit of a small reward.
Using a lists doesn’t suggest that you’re obsessive or a procrastinator – lists are a form of power. Billionaire, entrepreneur and business magnate, Sir Richard Branson, proudly proclaims “I’ve always made lists of things I want to achieve — it helps me track my progress.”
Everyone Deserves a List to Call Their Own.
I’m a big fan of lists. My business demands that I develop lists for my clients. It becomes their roadmap for business strategies or personal development. I often find myself saying “Let’s write it down so it becomes real and actionable.”
Self-development author Brian Tracy says “A list gives you a visual picture of the larger task or objective. It gives you a track to run on.”
Look at your business or marketing plan, which is typically broad and long-range. This may be the perfect place to begin to “pluck” important tasks or goals from and move them to a to-do list.
The trick to getting things done is to list things in “doable” order. If you need help getting started, (you guessed it) here’s a few tips:
- Instead of a long list – break the tasks or goals into a couple categories that are easier to digest and tackle.
- Homework always had a deadline – so add an estimation of time spent on a task and a realistic date for completion.
- Don’t get hung up on finding the right app – follow a method you’ll actually use.
- Keep it simple. An overly ambitious to-do list strategy can increase a desire to multitask, making us less productive and frustrated.
And don’t forget the satisfaction of completing tasks and the pleasure of a reward. Who knows, that just might be a life-changing trip to Tanzania and completing a list of animals you spotted.