We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. — Aristotle
This is the second of 12 posts on how the right habits can transform your performance to the next level. We are all at some level in terms of what we achieve. For many that level is far less than it could be. Given the right habits we can all achieve more, do more and succeed at levels we may now only imagine.
Get free lessons on how to use your time more effectively with my Effective Time Management Lessons.
This series is inspired by the writing of Tomas Laurinavicius, a blogger and designer from Lithuania. His ideas are not new or revolutionary. They capture some basic ideas about habits that will take you to the next level of achievement.
The Power of Lists
Most people make them. The grocery list. The Christmas gift list. This simple little tool, a list, can help you organize your life and get the important things done. Lists free your mind from having to remember what you have to do or when you have to do it. This allows you to focus on more important things.
How to Create and Use a List
You can use whatever tool you find most comfortable or user friendly. You can use paper and pencil, or a word processor such as MS Word, or special software designed for list making. I suggest to start out keep it simple. Use paper or a word processor to make your list. There are several advantages to using a word processor: it allows you to easily prioritize the list, reorder it and add and delete from it.
Write down a list of what you need to do and want to do. Add tasks as they develop. Use a system to prioritize the list. There are many but the simplest is the ABC system. Put an A alongside the most important or urgent items, a B alongside the next important, etc. Then you can number the tasks within each priority category by how important each task is. Example:
A 1 Write letter
A 2 Return call from Bob
B 1 Get printer ink
B 2 Call friend
C 1 Make reservation for next Tuesday
As you add tasks insert them based on priority. Then as you do the tasks follow the priority and check them off when they are done.
How Many Lists?
Some people use just one list with all their personal and work related tasks. Other people have separate lists for different types of tasks. There are advantages to both but when you can it is best to have a single list to prioritize everything you need to do in one place. You will miss things less that way.
Start out with one list with all your tasks on it. Over time if you find an advantage to having 2 or 3 lists you can do that but limit the number. If you have too many lists floating about you will lose focus and miss things that need to get done.
If you have not used lists this way try it out for a couple weeks. You will find you are more organized and you get the important things done when they need to be done.
Learn how to manage your time to achieve more of what you want to do in my book, Effective Time Management. Get free lessons on how to use your time more effectively with my Effective Time Management Lessons.
Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.