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Have you ever started the day with a “to do” list? If you are like most people, you’ll make a daily list of things to do, and relish in the opportunity to check each accomplishment off your list. A list is an easy way to keep you organized and track your action items by merely glancing at written notes. List are helpful for a number of reasons:
• they’re great memory triggers
• offer easy ways to brainstorm ideas
• they’re a terrific way to track on-going projects
• they help prioritize tasks in a timely fashion
• they help keep us focused
A Man Who Lived By His List
Benjamin Franklin was one of the earliest known socialites who regularly made a list. As a printer, publisher, scientist, inventor, postmaster, politician, and diplomat, his list provides a glimpse into his success. Franklin strongly believed in scheduling his activities consistently, to keep him productive and accountable in accomplishing his daily intentions. Franklin was a man of many talents and held many roles. In each of these roles, he needed a way to keep track of his diverse duties. The schedule Franklin followed listed his routine activities, and the time allotted for each particular task such as eating, sleeping, and working.
At day’s end, Franklin would reflect on his decisions, accomplishments, and intentions with careful consideration. The image below shows how he broke out each day.
Franklin teaches us that reflection is an important phase often omitted when we complete the tasks on our list. Rewarding ourselves for our achievements is by nature, essential. It adds value to our self worth and supports deep contemplation when evaluating our progress towards important goals in life.
Next time you make a list consider these helpful tips:
• Go back to basics. Use pen and paper to make your list. It doesn’t have to be complicated, electronic, or even digital. The process of hand writing your list is the best way to place the activities in your mind, essentially etching it into your frontal lobe. The frontal lobe serves to be the decision maker, and the analytical engine. Once ingrained, it allows your brain to focus on the task at hand, think about what needs to be done, and determine the most efficient way to accomplish that task.
• Reward Yourself. When planning tasks, include small rewards for reaching your goals. Set an arbitrary deadline for yourself, then reward yourself for completing that task. Take a break for a walk, a latte, or something you find enjoyable for recognition of your accomplishment. If you fall short of that goal, take a quick break and come back to focus on the task at hand.
• Post-It Notes. Upon completing a task put a post-it on the wall with words of encouragement. As you complete more tasks, add more post-its, and soon you’ll have a collage of different color post-its, representing the many accomplishments along your journey through your to-do list.
• Use Social Media. If you use social media, share your “to-do” list with a buddy for accountability. A buddy will keep you honest, offer encouragement, and remind you to keep on track in reaching your goal. Determine how frequently you’ll check in with this person and reflect on how much you have done. Celebrate your completed milestones and offer encouragement on goals that have yet to be completed.
While making a list is easy, it’s the contemplation that Franklin focused on which seems so valuable. In fact, most any major accomplishment that has been achieved, from building a home, going to college, or even going to the moon, all started and resulted from working through a list that required focus and reflection. It’s an integral part of how our brain processes tasks and helps us organize and prioritize our day. Therefore, add one more item to your “to-do” list as Franklin taught us—and reflect on your day’s work by carefully thinking about your day’s intentions and reflecting on your progress and achievements everyday.
Need a mentor to help you keep on track with your marketing goals? Ask us about our Accountability Program at IntreXDesign & Associates.