We all make our lists. Either because we are forgetful or because we want to be more productive. I have always struggled with to do lists. Not in creating them but when reviewing them they always look so cluttered and disorganized.
Crossing things off the list seems so fulfilling. Yet as I continue to struggle with their use, it is becoming clearer to me that they are simply scorecards of activity. Much like a baseball lineup entered into a scorecard, we list everything we know we need to do and then attack the list through our day. We never completely finish a to do list in one day. Some items remain to be started again the next day.
What I sense, that has been a weakness for me, is my inability to clearly articulate with words the specific things I want to accomplish in the next week or month or year and not waver from them.
We all could rapidly respond to this question when asked what our goals are. Of course we have them. The words we use are so easy to say. But, in truth, the goals we share by voice tend to change in priority over time, be forgotten when other things surprisingly appear in our day, or we are left together misleadingly consoling ourselves that some things will just take more time. That is just how our mind works.
Results bring movement in our life when they are aligned with our goals. Activity by itself will never accomplish this. We could be busy yet unfocused. We could be working on trivial things. Or we could be tied up in outside events that simply will not lead us to realizing any of our goals.
It’s in this quicksand of confusion and ambiguity between goals, activity and our to do lists that much time is wasted. Without clarity, their cannot be any good feedback to help us adjust in ways that bring us closer to our goals.
I confess, I have wasted much time because of this confusion and ambiguity. By not spending more time on deeply thinking about what I would like to accomplish first before writing my to do list. Starting with what I want to see happen instead of mindlessly listing activities that need to get done is critical to achieving a much deeper clarity on what is important in my life to work on.
So don’t be fooled by simply creating a to do list. Not everything is important. Yet there are things that are vitally important to achieving things you have only dreamed about. Knowing the difference is key to making your to do list more powerful.
All of this begins by gaining clarity on why it is important for you to do any item on your list today.