List Making: Never Quite Reaching Fulfilment
Do you make lists of all the things you want to do?
Things to do during the day/week/month?
Things to do in the short-term/long-term?
Short-term goals to achieve? Long-term goals?
Shopping lists? Christmas Card lists? Lists for whatever you can think of?
I certainly use these a lot. In fact, I have a special list book bought from the UK hardware-type store Wilkinson’s especially for that purpose. I try to use it as much as possible.
But – lists can have their drawbacks!!
Watch this great little video on YouTube:
Does this sound like you?
I must admit, it sounded a lot like me. In particular, I’m forever beating myself up for not having done everything on my list! I always feel the same when this happens. I’ve made my list of things to do earlier in the day. I then press on to try and do everything possible. But there’s always something that distracts. This could be something urgent, or (more than usually) something trivial. The latter always seems to happen when straying onto Facebook!
Or, it might be that I start the important tasks first (as planned) but they take a little longer than first anticipated. When those are completed, suddenly I find there’s little else to do the other stuff I planned…
Okay, I admit I’m a bit hopeless as well.
My lists never quite reach fulfillment!
However, not all is lost. There are some things you can do to make your list compilation a little more effective when planning for success.
1) Be realistic about what you can achieve in your list. It might perhaps be stating the obvious, but its all too easy to get carried away and try and do too much. There might be 24 hours in the day (which should theoretically be enough to get tons done), but remember – there are only 24 hours in a day! A large part of this is probably likely to be spent sleeping, eating, working in the day job etc. So how much time does that leave for the other stuff? Well, make sure you’ve put stuff in your list that you think you can do today – and leave the other things for another time.
2) Try and prioritize what you need to do by ranking your tasks in order of importance. Lets say you’ve brain-stormed your tasks onto your list (those you realistically want to do, of course! – See above.) Next, number each one in terms of rank importance i.e. 1, 2, 3, 4 etc. Then, work through your list according to the priorities you have laid out. (The Wilko book I have is great for this! It even has a little section where you can write your priorities!!) Of course, you don’t have to use a number system, especially if you have several tasks which have the same level of importance . In this case, you could just put a star next to all the priority tasks and do them first. (You could also try something called the 80/20 principle – but I’ll save that one for another day!)
3) Try and allocate a realistic time scale to each task. If, for instance, you decide you need to spend some time working on your home study course then allocate the correct amount of time you need to progress it. This could be, say, two hours. When you come round to doing this particular task on your list, make sure you only do the two hours. If needs be, use a timer to alert yourself when the time’s up. (Most mobile phones have count-down timers nowadays, although you can always use an online one such as Online Stopwatch.) Then, make sure you finish this task and move onto the next one!
These are very simple principles, but they can make all the difference to your list.
So what do you think? Is this a useful piece of ‘success psychology’? Please leave a comment below (and maybe share your experiences too. We’d love to hear them!)