Seems lots of people are “doing it differently” in 2015. No resolutions, no goals, no pen to paper with “this is what I am going to do.”
There’s a trend underfoot of simply going with the flow. Not that there is anything wrong with going with the flow… people have been doing this since the beginning of time. But there is something to be said with writing down what we want.
I think about the many times I’ve headed to the grocery store with my shopping list in my head. I’d get to the store, go through my “I don’t need to write this down” list in my head and just as I was pulling into my garage realized the main thing that I headed to the store for is the one thing I forget.
“Shoot, I got plenty of other things but I forgot the toilet paper. And that’s what I really needed on this trip. Dang! I did it again,” I would think with a great deal of frustration.
If I had a list it’s likely I wouldn’t be wondering if tonight was the night I would run out of toilet paper at the most inopportune time.
It’s great to do things differently, but there are times when something tried and true is the way to go; like writing a grocery list.
Studies have shown that you actually can save an incredible amount of time and money when you write and follow a grocery list.
According to Larry of One True Larry blog, writing a list does in fact save you money.
It’s the same with writing out a To Do list for your daily business activities. Lists can also be very helpful with personal matters like cleaning out closets, getting rid of the clothes that no longer fit, or getting in shape.
I’m amazed at how many people resist writing a daily To To list or if they do, they rarely refer to it, they use it wrong or they put so much on the list there is no way in God’s green earth they can possibly finish what’s on the list.
“One tool many entrepreneurs use to get organized and improve focus is to create a To Do list. This can be a very helpful tool. Unfortunately, in my opinion, about 85% of the population is using the To Do list in a completely ineffective manner. Here’s why: most people are using their To Do list as a measure for self-worth…and this is a huge mistake.” Vanessa Loder writes.
Okay, so that’s Vanessa Loder’s two cents worth. I agree with her. I also feel that the avoidance of a To Do list is a convenient way to not hold yourself accountable for the very things you know you need to do to improve your health, grow your business, or complete the “I’ll get to it someday” project around your home.
Something I recommend to my high-end clients is to write their long term goals in addition to daily goals in the form of a To Do list. Some jump in with both feet while others not so much.
The ones who get on board with this process tend to complete needed tasks faster, more efficiently and with less stress than those who don’t.
I know this is true for me. When I wing it and just “flow” with my day, I can get to the end of my day and wonder where the time went. When I have specific tasks I need to get done, write these things down on my To Do list and commit to completion of the list, my days are incredibly productive.
Many of my clients host their own events. Filling events is not always as easy as some people would lead you to believe and yet, one of the most effective ways to fill an event is to pick up the phone and call people. I always suggest my clients pace themselves by making a minimum number of daily calls to potential attendees of their events. And yes, I suggest they write a list of the people they will call and add that to their To Do list.
I’ve seen it happen over and over again where someone would insist it is not necessary to add the names to a list and after a few days they are so far behind in what they planned they wonder why they thought doing an event was ever a good idea.
Believe me, I know what this is like. I’ve been guilty of it myself. This likely would not have happened if they had a list to follow and check off.
Or let’s say you’ve been to a networking meeting and you walked away with a stack of business cards convincing yourself that you would call each and every person you got a card from. With every intention of calling people when you get to your desk, something else grabs your attention and before you know it, days, weeks, even months have passed and no one received a call from  you.
Had you paced yourself and had a list to work from, it’s likely you would have reached out to each and every person rather than day in and day out staring at the stack of cards until one day you grab the entire thing and with the finesse of a champion basketball player, you toss the stack into the garbage.
It’s all very fine to want to free flow in life, but truth be told, free flowing in some situations is pure BS. Running a business takes focus, commitment and in many cases urgency of the tasks at hand. Ask some of the most successful people you know what they do to stay the course, get a lot done and have time for activities outside of their business and they will likely tell you they write things down.
So if you want to fool yourself into thinking you’re productive, go for it. But if you want to organize your day in a way that you get a lot done in a short period of time write your list.