Ah, the dreaded lists!
Most of us make lists — shopping, chores, and important dates to remember are just a few. So why do many not make lists for their business? And even worse, why are some touting that task-lists are not good?
It is well established that making lists can assist you in reaching your goals.
The list methodology has driven many to achieve success in business. Kevin Kruse, author of 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management asks, “Do you really think Richard Branson and Bill Gates write long to-do lists and prioritize items as A1, A2, B1, B2, and so on?”.
So with all things being equal, Simon Sinek says, “If we think of everything we have to do, we feel overwhelmed. If we do the one thing we need to do, we make progress.”. While Simon is not specifically talking about list making, I believe this speaks to the positive side of making a list.
Regarding lists, I believe that Kevin Kruse’s Richard Branson and Bill Gates example is not true, not to mention lacks insight.
Of course, these two powerhouse leaders do not make a list themselves — at least as we see lists.
That said, I can guarantee you that their staff does. Further, “big picture thinking” and running worldwide companies, is drastically different than the daily lives most of us lead.
I ask, “Have you ever had a successful day without a list?”. I have, but it is only on the bigger tasks of running a business. Doing things like reconciling finances and other business necessities. And all my lists range from big-picture to the micro-list within a task.
Not all lists are created equal!
My most successful days are all done via task lists that are in a time-blocking format with ‘to-be-completed’ items or contain a host of details that need to be included in a project.
I happen to use “the listing methodology” for everything in my life. In fact, I even use my calendar to create reminders for me throughout the day. At the end of the day, however, that is simply another kind of list.
Regarding Simon’s point of being overwhelmed, for many, lists are just the fix to keep you and your business on track.
It is true that being overwhelmed is a road to non-productivity — however — a simple task list will help you organize with the same efficiency of your simple shopping list, checking off items as you do them.
So, lists are bad?
In my opinion, “No.” — In fact, experts on business efficiency say that operational efficiency is about making the best possible use of all resources.
“Operational efficiency is the capability of an enterprise to deliver products or services to its customers in the most cost-effective manner possible while still ensuring the high quality of its products, service, and support.” ~ Webopedia
For most of us, I propose that list-making is crucial to completing your job with efficiency. As, with every position, there is a constant influx of new things to do and older things to remember.
The Pros and Cons of lists
- Better focus
- It can help not feeling overwhelmed
- Easier to recall conversations
- Better manage multiple projects
- Easier to present idea’s to business associates
- Big picture understanding of the needed task flow
- The pleasure of seeing completed tasks
- It takes time out of your day
- It can feel overwhelming
- Your list is lost in the shuffle
- Relying on it can be a nightmare if you lose it
- You keep adding to the list and it never ends
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