Monday, August 27, 2007

Monday Morning Goals & Listmaking

I am being featured this week on the Direct Sales Radio Show. One of the topics I discussed was listmaking. I'm a listmaker.

Some people are predisposed to make lists (like me) but others need to learn. (Like, ahem, my husband...)

Listmaking does two things:

  1. Makes a committment to yourself

  2. Saves your brain memory and energy

I recently heard an analogy that said it perfectly, I'll attempt to recreate it here. Imagine your brain is an airport and you are the air traffic controller. You have planes circling and waiting for their time to land, you have planes getting ready to take off, planes sitting and waiting for passengers.

These planes are your tasks. Some are small, like remembering that there are shirts that can't stay in the dryer until the end of the cycle or they will wrinkle. Some are large, like a major project deadline looming. But while we devote a different amount of energy to each plane, as they require, each one takes up the same amount of space in our brain/airport.

By creating a list, we assign each plane its own space. A plane with no space for itself is taking up too much space wandering around the airport while we think about it, talk about it, discuss it and wonder when we're going to do something about it.

Here's my list for today:

  1. Finish laundry.

  2. Sort out the 'too small' clothes pile and get it ready for consignment store.

  3. Sort out the Goodwill pile.

  4. Finish column for WHR.

  5. Go buy fall/winter jackets for kids.

Here's my list for this week:

  1. Begin article for ABM.

  2. Blog daily.

  3. Work on Marketing Course material.

  4. Send out eNews to Calgary Writers.

  5. Finish Scribbler eNewsletter (issue #1!)

It doesn't look like a lot... but that's because I add duties as they come to me. I have a physical list sitting next to me on my desk. Whenever something comes to me, I put it on the list. Then, rather than spend time thinking about the things I don't want to forget, I just remember to check the list several times a day.

The great thing is, I get a little jolt of satisfaction every time I check something off my list. If I didn't have the list, I might be fooled into thinking I didn't accomplish a darn thing. So not true.

At the beginning of each day, I go to the previous day's list and transfer my 'incompletes' to my new list. Because they are right at the top, they often get the most attention.

Go on, be a listie!


Carolyn Erickson said...

Heather! I love the air traffic controller analogy!

I'm a listie. But I used to go overboard with my list, overwhelming myself first thing in the morning with everything I thought I should do. Now I limit myself to two or three items, with smaller commuter planes circling in a holding pattern. They can crash and burn if I run out of fuel, and no one will really get hurt. :D

Off to finish my list!

Kai said...

I make lists too - but I'm a bit different with mine - I make a list, and prioritize - the must do's on one list - the, 'would be nice to see if I can do them' and the 'oh my god, I hate this but I need to get them done'
Once I have my weekly lists - I take one from each list - and do them, three at a time. Once I've done that a couple of times, I do something fun (usually Civ 4 for half an hour) :)