You ever wish you had an eidetic or what they used to call a photographic memory? We certainly wish we did. For that matter, we wish we could remember what we did last week – but that’s another story. There are professions that do require a fairly prodigious memory such as acting, being a musician a professional athlete or an entertainer. The way these people generally remember things is by doing countless repetitions until they have embedded whatever they need to remember in their brains. Another way to express this is practice, practice, practice. Great quarterbacks didn’t get to be great without having spent hours practicing the same play over and over. And you can bet that violin virtuosos spent thousands of hours practicing the same music.
Fortunately for most of us having a great memory is not essential to our lives or success. It might be beneficial but it is not critical. This is because what we lack in memory we can compensate by having constant reminders in the form of lists. Creating lists might be a sort of mind numbing task but once you get them written out, your life will become much simpler because there will now be a bunch of things that you no longer have to, well, try to remember.
Have a list of your goals
If you don’t have a list of goals you’re like a rudderless ship. You may think you’re making progress in life but all you may be doing is sailing around in circles. What your goals should be are those things you feel necessary to have a good life. This could be getting your own home, starting a family, becoming independent, achieving financial stability and so forth. As you grow older you will probably find that your goals change. In that case, you’ll be able to cross things off your list, which should feel really good.
If you don’t maintain a tasks list they’ll just pile up and eventually become a big roadblock in your life. The best way to look at tasks is as a road on the way to completing important goals. Regardless of what you do in life you’ll have new tasks on a daily basis. The good news is that when you complete one and can cross it off your list you should feel a great sense of achievement. If you write down your tasks and find out that you have some major ones just break them down into smaller daily components and put them on the list, too.
Have a contacts list
Throughout your life you will come across skillful, capable and talented people – people whose help you may need in the future. Be sure to make a list of them. It’s really helpful to have a list of not just your friends and family members but those “special” contacts such as handymen, lawyers, programmers, real estate agents and automobile mechanics. It’s also important not to contact them just when you need help. To have a good relationship with them you need to be there when they need something.
List your expenses
This may seem like a very dull piece of advise but this is a list that’s easy to neglect. You should divide it into two categories – necessary expenses such as taxes, groceries, insurance, etc., and your “wants” or your personal cravings. This would typically include eating out, having drinks with friends, weekends at the beach or mountains and clothes. When you make a list like this it will give you a clear overview of how much money you have at your disposal and how you can spend it. If you don’t do this it’s easy to fall prey to weekend trips or shopping sprees where your bills are left to pile up and you start down a slippery slope to serious financial problems.
Have a list of useful tools
Do you keep all of your contacts on your smart phone? What would happen if you were to lose that phone or if it were stolen? You should definitely have some kind of a tool that would bail you out if this were to happen. There are also many other useful tools out there in the form of apps or software programs that could come in handy if you’re faced with common problems such as finding a restaurant for a business dinner, driving through an unfamiliar area, managing your tasks or helping you recover stolen property. Some of these may be tools you use every day without even thinking about it. But there are probably others out there that could be helpful if you were to just do a little research. The point is to have a list of these useful tools so they will be available when you need them.
Make a self improvements list
Jack Nicholson was once quoted as saying, “The minute you’re not learning I believe you’re dead.” While that may be a bit radical there is truth to it. We all have areas where we could do better if we just knew how. Stop for a minute and think of all those things you would like to change or improve. Then figure out how you could implement them. These could consist of anything from physical changes to spiritual changes or from paying off debt to just becoming better at your job. Don’t expect to make major changes overnight. Your list is there to remind you which improvements you need to be working on and in what order. If you refuse to make changes in your life the end result won’t be healthy. You could end up being depressed, overconfident or turn into a self-absorbed person that no one wants to be around for any period of time.
List your contingency plans
The actors Denzel Washington once said, “You pray for rain, you got to deal with the mud too. That’s a part of it.” Or to put it another way, there are very few things in life that don’t involve risks and you need to be prepared to deal with them. Ask yourself question such as what happens if I’m in a serious automobile accident, what do I do if my investments turn catastrophic, what would I do if I lose my job. Then sit down and develop answers to those questions. No matter how careful you are in what you do there can always be worst-case scenarios and you need to be prepared to deal with them.