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It began many years ago when I was in college. To pay my way, I always had two or three part time jobs. Classes were mornings, so I had the rest of the day to earn my way.
At some point I began keeping a handwritten list of things to be done. It was always with me. As I thought of things, they went on the list. As the list sometimes grew, I began keeping a list for today and another for later.
I found it very useful. I didn't have to clutter up my thinking trying to remember all the things facing me. I simply consulted my list, checking off things done and adding additional items as they occurred to me. A quick jot on my list and I moved on to more important things.
Keeping a daily list organizes you--and your day. It frees up your thinking to concentrate of other things--like being creative, dreaming, planning, thinking through ideas. The daily grind is kept in strict perspective. Meeting schedules becomes a breeze.
Joining Corporate America after college, my daily list grew. It included items with a star beside some of them. These were things important to the boss. They took priority. My desk was a mess, but my list was very organized. And it organized me.
When I left Corporate America and set up my own business, that's when the list came to full maturity. Follow up with a customer. Meet the banker. Update insurance coverage. Do some tax planning with my accountant. Order supplies. Interview a prospective employee. Take out the trash.
I began keeping a weekly list--in addition to the daily. Attend a network meeting on Wednesday. Meet a new client on Friday for breakfast. Call three new suppliers and home in on one to deal with.
In your business, the lists you keep become a record. All the dates exist in papers you've collected, but your list pulls everything together in one place.Yes, these days you can keep lists on some electronic device, but the electric goes down, the batteries need charging, the thing can crash on you and you're left hanging.
Retired now, I still keep handwritten lists. I don't worry about viruses or breakdowns or the electric disappearing. Critical things to do today get checked off as I consult my daily list two or three times every day.
No matter how you do it, get the crap out of your head and onto a list. You'll then have more time to think about the important things. Free up some brain cells to dream about next year--instead of increasing your stress trying to remember what is waiting your attention.
A daily list is a good way to collect information you'll need for your business plan. No mistake about it, you need a business plan.