HUGH CULVER

Lists, lists, lists – do you have too many of them?

Updated to Business on February 8, 2023.

Have you thought about your lists lately?

I think lists are sort of like dirty laundry: we all know we have it, we just don’t want to look at it very often.

I read recently that the average person has 13 different ways to keep track of their goals, calendars, To-Do’s, and reminders. Thirteen! How about you?
You have iCal or Outlook set up (well, sort of set up). You have a cool new app that pops-up to remind you to get that other cool new app someone mentioned last week.

Then there is the list – that unsorted, litany of everything still undone.

How’s this working for you?

If you want to get better results (work, life, happiness, money) you need to first conquer your lists. I know that when I am feeling out-of-control and stressed out about work load it’s my lists that are failing me. Not that lists get work done. They don’t. But lists get you working on the right work – that’s the trick.

Here’s what I do:

1. First, get rid of pop-up apps, paper calendars, stickie notes and work only from three tools: your electronic calendar (iCal, or Outlook are both great and easily sync to Google calendar for your VA to work from), your “Flight Plan”.

2. Next, create your plan the night before. This is magic. Take 10 minutes before you pack it in and look long-term and short-term and make a realistic plan for about ¾ of your day (not the full day-remember you will be interrupted). That’s your Day Plan. On Friday create your Flight Plan.

3. Finally, work in chunks of time. I find 20 minutes is perfect. Draft a proposal, make three phone calls, respond to a client, or mind map a project. Break frequently, cross tasks off your list, and keep moving forward.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. I’m pretty good at it – I’m guessing you are as well. But as chief honcho we can’t afford overwhelm.
Follow these three steps and watch your overwhelm turn into over-joyed (corny, but true) with results.

Love it or lump it, leave me a comment about your war against lists.

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Photo credit: Flickr-Ian Muttoo