Richard Branson the Billionaire Entrepreneur swears by it, many successful people use it religiously, In case you are wondering – I am talking about the humble list.
Most of us while grocery shopping use the list to help recall all that is to be bought. Why? because it helps us to recall the items and also to organize our trip. We might buy a few things at the super market and have to go to the cold store to buy meats.
I have been using lists from I don’t know when for grocery shopping. Recently I shifted to having the list on my mobile in the form of a note.
But the irony is that I never used lists to organize my work day. I would have a rough idea of what I need to work on – but that was it. That way i ended up wasting a lot of time checking mail and responding and the work actually revolved around whatever seemed to be urgent at the moment.
A few months ago I seriously started using lists to plan my day and have seen some major improvements in my ability to get things finished.
So I thought why not share with you some of the benefits –
The list helped me to focus.
As I worked through different assignments – I used to take up tasks as they came – as long as I was occupied – I thought I was productive. But that is not always the case. Staying busy does’nt equal staying productive. Here I wanted to share a very insightful quote from Tim Cook the CEO of Apple about the importance of Focus.
“Apple is the most focused company I know of, am aware of, or have any knowledge of… We say no to good ideas every day.” He goes on to say that every single product the company makes would fit on the single conference table in front of him. “And Apple had revenue last year of $40 billion.”
So Focus was key and I was floundering.
And how did the list come in handy?
The To do List acted like my roadmap for the day. It helped me keep a tab on things I wanted to do. And as I went thru the day – I kept ticking off things one by one. This felt good besides it helped me stay focused on what I had set out to finish.
As I mentioned earlier – My work day used to start with checking mail and then I would start responding to the ones that are important. This way I gae away control of my day to someone else. But, now with a to-do list I am primed about what I am going to do before I hit my desk. Sometimes I don’t even check my mail until much later . The list has helped me in getting greater control of my day and my work.
Helped to Stay Organized
Well I guess this is self explanatory and follows from the above two benefits. The list helped me to focus on one thing at a time and not try to try doing every thing all at once. I used to pride myself as a multi tasker. It took this simple list to make me realise the absolute irony of multi tasking.
So these were some of the obvious benefits which I experienced in the few short months I’ve started using lists. I am sure there are more – but let me save that for a future post.
Let me leave you with a Factoid.
I am a big fan of Richard Branson and he is a compulsive list user. He has been using it for over 40 years now. He keeps a notebook all the time and jots down any idea that occurs. He also keeps a list of companies he plans to start, and just in case you might be interested he has started over 400 companies as on date. So all the more reason if you hold entrepreneurial aspirations – Start Listing!