I’m a prolific jotter. I have post-it notes, everywhere. Somehow things get done, but I often find like my big goals continue to hang out there. Life get’s busy and I lose focus on my goals.
I’m a childhood cancer survivor and since coming face to face with my mortality at a young age, I’ve had a sense of urgency to make an impact. As a result, progress towards goals is pretty important in my personal life and professionally as a marketer for the work I do for my clients.
Two years ago, I was leading my last startup through the wind down of operations. I pondered, what’s next?
We shut down. I still didn’t know what was next. But with the guidance of my then board chairman and other mentors, I started work on something new.
This time, I needed a plan. Without funding, I needed to make something happen fast. I needed to establish clear movement towards objectives. And to try my best not to get distracted by the busyness of business. As a free-spirited, entrepreneur, sometimes that’s easier said than done.
My desk full of post-its tells that story.
The easy, yet often neglected way to stay focused on goals
But then I remembered my high school physics class. Mr. Miller was my teacher. I don’t remember a single formula or theory, sorry Mr. Miller.
But Mr. Miller had a to-do list every day. Sometimes during class, something would pop into his head. He’d stop, take out the list and add it. Or, he’d get something done, pause, scratch it out, and move on with the lecture.
Many times throughout junior year, Mr. Miller referenced that list in class. Talking about how important it was every night to jot down his main priorities for the next day. At the top of the list, he’d write down, make a list.
I remembered three things about Mr. Millers To Do List lessons.
- How important it is to focus our effort every day on our top priorities. Also, the importance of taking time, before the busyness of the day distracts us, to write them down.
- If something comes to us, get it out. Don’t let it roll around in your head. Get it down, so you can decide later how important it is to moving your big goals forward.
- Progress begets progress. The act of having “create list” as an item, gives you the satisfaction of always being able to cross an item off. Doing so ensures you don’t get discouraged with the practice after a couple of bad days.
It’s a skill that I continue to hone, and I credit much of my success, particularly since launching Lake One.It’s such a simple idea, to-do lists. But so often we get caught up in being busy, we forget what we want to be accomplishing.
Set a framework so you can focus on your goals
In the spirit of the season, I have an e-gift for you. I recently watched a course on SkillShare from Productivityist founder, Mike Vardy. This guy is the king of mastering our to-dos.
Check out his course here. It takes about 45 minutes, but is so worth it to developing a to-do list framework that aligns with your work style and your goals.
Here’s to an epic 2017 as we keep moving forward! Are you a to-do master? I’d love to hear the process you use to keep the ball moving forward. I’m always looking for new strategies to refine my process. Leave me a comment.