Your to do list is sacred. Protect and respect it. ~ Udo Okonjo
Ivy Lee, a management consultant, was once presented with an unusual challenge. Charles M. Schwab, who was at the time president of Bethlehem Steel, confronted him demanding, “Show me a way to get more things done. If it works, I’ll pay anything within reason.”
A few weeks after, Charles Schwab sent Ivy Lee a cheque for $25, 000 in payment for what he later described as the most profitable lesson he had ever learned in his business career. What did Ivy Lee teach him that was worth twenty-five thousand dollars? The lesson of the To Do List!
You may have heard a lot about the To Do List and come across mentions of it on this website, but have you ever really used one or considered the true value of this tool? Or do you think it’s just an overhyped little tip? Maybe you tried it and it didn’t yield results so you decided to abandon it? It may be time to change your mind!
A To Do List, as the name suggests, is a list of tasks you need to complete in order to achieve your goals. When you use this tool properly every single day, I guarantee you’ll have more time, accomplish more every day, and build an Ignited Business with less strain!
To master the use of this simple yet amazing tool, pay attention to the following steps:
1. Write it: Make out time to write down in one place everything you have to do for the next day. If you haven’t been using a “to do” list, chances are you are in a place of disorganisation and under-achievement, and your list of things to do is overwhelmingly long. Don’t despair, just keep writing them down. A client makes a request? Write it down immediately. An idea pops into your head you need to research? Write it down. That long overdue phone call or email? Write it in your list. Put down every single thing. Some write their lists early in the morning, but many an Ignited Tycoon has found it more helpful to make the list before bed and wake up focused and ready to seize the day.
2. Prioritise it: The number one reason people don’t get the best out of their To Do List is that they write the tasks randomly instead of in the order of real importance, with the unpleasant and not-so-pleasant ones coming first.
We all have that one item on our To Do list that we dread. When you assign top priority to an unpleasant task, you get it out of the way quickly instead of having it loom over you all day, and everything else will seem less stressful. Brian Tracy wrote a time-management book, Eat That Frog, based on this premise. The book gets its title from a Mark Twain saying that if you eat a live frog first thing in the morning, you’ve got it behind you for the rest of the day and nothing else looks so bad.
Not sure what’s important? Ask yourself, if I could only do one task today, which one would make me feel most accomplished? When you make your day top heavy, you utilise the best hours of your day, and the tone of success is set for the rest of the day!
3. Stick to it: Another reason why people don’t experience the magic of the To Do List is failure to stick to it. To use this tool effectively, you must start with number one and stick with it until it is completed, before moving on to number two, and then down the rest of the list in that manner. People who don’t get the best out of the To Do List tend to flit up and down the list. For instance, they tackle number 2, then number 5 and then up to number 3, which they leave half done in order to jump to number 7. This defeats the purpose of the prioritised To Do List.
Do one task thoroughly so you don’t have to return to it, strike it off, and then march on to the next. The satisfaction you’ll have at the end of the day- even if you were unable to get to the end of the list- is truly magical.
Apart from my daily list, to ignite a fruitful week I take stock of my previous week and prepare a new master list of tasks and priorities. If you don’t write them down, they hardly get done.
Here’s a quick recap: Make your list, prioritize it, and stick to it!
An extra tip for spiritually inclined Ignited Tycoons: To get the best out of your To Do list, pray over it and commit it to God. Then vividly imagine yourself having a productive week ahead by walking through it and seeing each item accomplished in your spirit.
Work this tool right and see exponential success come your way!