One of the best ways you can improve your life is to start writing to-do check lists. Lists are absolutely fantastic for a multitude of different reasons. I first started writing lists for myself after I watched a lecture in which Brian Tracy explained their value as a tool to build my character, support my business and most of all to keep me motivated!
So how can lists help our lives?
The world of business is full of distractions and often when it comes to business, especially in office jobs like marketing, time can pass and things can feel exceptionally dull. This can lead to decreased motivation, restlessness and it can be detrimental to the running of your business and handling of your affairs. If you are distracted and unable to work at an optimal level, this can have catastrophic effects on your life and reduce the impact you can have on your success.
So what are my main problems as a person? I am often unmotivated, easily distracted and find it hard to retain a level of rigid discipline, and thus lists have become an invaluable tool which has helped me run my business, optimise my time and live a better life, much freer from stress and misery.
My business day used to be: Wake up, do whatever needs to be done, and wait listlessly, often ending up playing computer games and getting distracted by anything and everything. This is not a good way to progress.
I have now organised my work day into a specific checklist of to-dos that allows me to check the points off the list when my tasks are complete.
My workday is now very simple: Wake up, check emails, answer emails, do any bit of work I need to get done, spend the rest of the day blogging and getting more reach for my business, check emails again, answer all emails, rest. I choose not to answer emails early as they can throw a wrench in the works and throw me off my game when people respond. It’s better to respond at the end of the day so that any communication if not urgent can wait. I do make an exception sometimes if it’s necessary, but that is the exception, not the rule.
So how does the checklist help me?
1: It keeps me organised. When there are a number of steps in a specific process as ordered on the checklist, you go through and complete things bit by bit in the right order. By not becoming distracted, you save time and energy whilst adhering rigidly to a structure. This will allow you to complete work faster and more accurately without distractions getting in the way and throwing you off your game.
All of the items on your to-do checklist are kept in one place, so you are in absolute control of what is happening in your working day, and know where you are at any given time. It is a great way to maintain an organised work regimen and schedule and tick things off as you go. It allows you to ensure that you complete every task that you need to and not have to worry about missing things.
2: Consistent motivation: When it comes to working in the office, motivation can fly out of the window the second anything distracts you! Emails, birds outside, computer games, or scrolling through Facebook are complete killers of productivity. The power of the checklist is that every time you tick off a new task completed, this is a small accomplishment, and your reward is a tick. Like the messages we get on Facebook or the emails in our inbox, getting a tick on our list will release a small amount of dopamine and keep us working hard!
3: Increased Creativity: One of the problems of being easily distracted is that often you find yourself using your creative mind to distract rather than to create. Once you have started mastering all of the repetitive tasks in your daily work life, you will find you have a lot more time to work on creative endeavours and not only that, but your mind will be more open to working creatively as well. The list ensures that you stick to your regime and dont self sabotage.
4: Maximise productivity: One of the greatest problems that not having a list can cause is that your ability to function at peak performance on more mundane tasks is compromised the second anything comes up. As I mentioned before, it is easy to become distracted. When you have a laser focused approach on doing the tasks and doing them in a specific order, you will find you accomplish them better and with less, if any, distractions. This way you maximise your productivity and help free up your time.
Don’t Delay – Start Today!
Take a few moments to think about your next work day. The things you will have to do in order to move forward with your work life and write a checklist. If you are feeling adventurous, you can always add a few extra tasks you wouldn’t normally do, such as tidying your workspace if, like me, you have a little clutter messing it up. When you accomplish a goal, tick it off the list. Every tick you make on your list is one step closer to accomplishing your entire working day. Once you have done everything you need to, you can take the time to push your company forwards and improve your work ethic.
Just remember the word LISTLESS.
Ok, I cheated a bit with thy, but hopefully this helps!
I am the CEO of Fantasoft an up and coming digital marketing firm based in the UK. I work as a blogger, SEO specialist and Web Designer, and my hobbies include making small films and writing music.