There was a time when all the management books told to set deadlines for everything. I’ve also been under this kind of boss so I know how to set them. It works in some environments if you’re accountable to someone else than yourself. But more and more people are accountable only to themselves.
When you work as a freelancer or for yourself those arbitrary deadlines don’t work anymore. If I know the deadlines are made up I won’t respect them. Most probably you won’t either.
The perfect way to go around this is not set any. Instead what you do is flip the idea of to do list on its head. When you start thinking in the terms of “what does it give me if I get this task done” you will suddenly see the outcome instead of the task.
I didn’t actually mention something obvious which I maybe should do now. These tasks that I’m talking about are those that you don’t want to do but at some point you just need to get them over with.
Sometimes indeed finishing the task only gives you a peace of mind. But at the end of the day peace of mind goes a long way.Tweet
It’s so easy to read a list. It’s easy to memorize. It categorizes well in your brain. Lists make sense. All in all, they are great.
Think all the classic lists: the 10 commandments, the 12 steps of AA, the planets or 100 ways to use a strip of bacon.
Just about anything I do I start off with a list. Household chores: vacuum, dishes, laundry, dusting and wash the floors. It might not be the perfect list but it gets you started and gives you direction.
And most importantly you won’t lose momentum because you don’t have to stop and think what to do next. If I stop during this one I will never get back to it.
Lists are also a great way to categorize any subject. Just list your marketing platforms. Then list what you know about them. What is the one that you need to learn more about? It’s usually the shortest list.
Another form of ‘the list’ is the mind map. According to some it is the efficient way of the brain to take in information. Instead of listing 1-2-3 and a-b-c you just draw bubbles. Try it and see how you like it. The drawback is that it takes a lot more space (on paper) than a conventional list.
All in all, lists are a great way to express almost anything: a blog post, groceries needed, the bucket list, rationale behind a new car and reasons to get fit. Don’t mind the form. Just map the mind.
To give a great start to any day I recommend listing what you like in life. In fact, give me three things you like about your life right now.Tweet