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The Power of the To-Do List

Before you eat the elephant, make sure you know what parts you want to eat.

Todd Stocker

I recently spoke to my colleague Amrit Mirchandani to discuss his personal tips for success. Top of his list was the To-Do list. Here;s what he had to say.

Focus on the present

“Maintaining a To-Do List is a habit I am thankful of incorporating into my everyday life. There was a time in University where I was all over the place, assignments were due every other day, lectures had to be attended and different activities were held every week… but I was lost. I had no idea what was happening and I started to become confused. This confusion lead me to not paying attention in the now and eventually lead to me failing at one of my subjects in Economics for that semester. I was devastated, what could help me become more organized and present in the moment?

Keeping track

That day while returning back from Sri Lanka to Malaysia (I was born and was living in Sri Lanka at that time) for my second semester, I was sitting near a passenger on the flight who looked successful and was in Sri Lanka for a business trip.  He was speaking on his phone, and once he was done speaking he casually took out a Notepad and Pen from his suitcase and ticked. What had he ticked? Being curious, I peeked into the notepad.

There was a tick in front of ‘Speak to Kumar thanking him for the pleasant stay in Sri Lanka‘. 

Even a mundane task such as speaking to a person to thank them can make a difference between tasks being accomplished and forgetting about a simple task which could have made a big difference tomorrow.

The productivity benefits of maintaining a To-Do List

Organization

This is the most important reason. When your tasks and projects are organized it becomes more do-able. A strategy is put into place by breaking important things into smaller achievable tasks.

Prioritization

When maintaining the to-do list, it can be marked with different pens, or a symbol can be put in front of it to show its priority according to importance. This will enable you to finish off important tasks first and not forget the smaller tasks which can eventually lead to a difference.

Avoid being forgetful

No one, not even Einstein, is capable of remembering everything at all times. Recording your everyday important notes will help you keep your schedules right and to avoid looking forgetful in front of your clients, customers and partners.

Psychological benefits

Accomplishment

When writing tasks, you become accountable to finish off the tasks listed in your to-do list. Studies have proven that you are 42% more likely to achieve your tasks, goals and even dreams by simply writing them down on a regular basis. 

Feeling Productive

Gone are the days when you are busy but not on the right tasks to achieve your dreams. Feel productive by ticking off the tasks you have completed, this is a huge boost to your motivation.

Relieves Stress

When you start ticking off the tasks in your to-do list you start to feeling accomplished about work being done. This helps you become more relaxed leading to a less stressful life.

Richard Branson credits his to do list as a key to his success.

Lists not only provide great structure for getting things done, but they also help us to set goals and achieve our dreams. 

Richard Branson

Remember as these small tasks are being done, the next few steps become relatively easier to envision and set out to. A to-do list will eventually change your reactive mind-set to a more proactive mindset, setting out time aside for completing tasks more aggressively and in a more planned manner.

It’s been almost 6 years since I successfully graduated University with a Bachelors of Commerce Majoring in Economics and International Business. Life has been much easier through all the challenges faced in my entrepreneurship journey and I owe it all to the lifesaving –

A final word

Oh! Another thing you will realize is having more time in the day than you realized you ever had. So there is more time to hustle, spend time with family and even get your gym sessions on track.”

J.Allan Longshadow
I am a coach, mentor, author and radio presenter with a passion for positivity. I founded Motiv8.me in 2016.

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