Successful leaders can be found in every career and industry. The one thing they all have in common is that they keep lists to remain on track. For example, Shark Tank host and real estate maven Barbara Corcoran creates a “to-do” list for the following day before leaving the office. After making the list, she assigns each task a rating of A, B, or C, based on priority.
And Mrs. Corcoran isn’t the only one. Many successful people keep more than one list to stay on top of all the important events and responsibilities in their lives. Listing priorities by hand or on the computer reminds folks of their day-to-day goals. The more goals they complete, the higher their rate of success. You don’t have to be a multi-millionaire to successfully follow this process. Anyone can increase their productivity and become more life- and work-focused by following the five suggestions below.
Keeping a list of your goals should be at the top of your list. What do you want to achieve in the short, intermediate, and long term? Having a list written down somewhere prominently, such as in a notebook or on a whiteboard in your office, can help you remain mindful of your future aspirations. A constant reminder can help you be prepared to take advantage of fleeting opportunities before they pass you by.
On the other hand, a list can help you get back on track if you start or are considering projects that won’t help you achieve your goals. Regularly checking them can also help you evaluate whether your goals remain valid as your priorities shift. By updating them as things change, you might add to your objectives or delete something that is no longer relevant to your future vision.
A “to-do” or task list provides an invaluable way to increase your productivity. It should be comprised of those things you need to complete in the short term for your career or in your personal life. By jotting down these tasks, you can remain focused on the end goals that give you the best chance for advancement.
When tracking your tasks, don’t merely write them down in random order. If you don’t prioritize, you might not accomplish something until it’s too late to achieve its intended purpose. Instead, assign a date and the estimated time needed to complete a task. Doing so will help ensure you have matched the appropriate time to the level of effort you’ll need to finish each task on time.
3. Expenses and Savings
As the saying goes, “You have to spend money to make money.” So, it should come as no surprise that the majority of your short- and long-term goals will involve financing to make them happen. To that end, monitoring cash flow is an important part of gauging your progress.
Record all the expenditures you make each week on items such as food, gas, home expenses, etc. You should also track how much money you’re bringing in and the amount going out. Budgeting apps such as Mint or finance software like Personal Capital can help you do this with little to no effort. At the end of each week, reconcile your expenses and savings with your goals list or budget. This will let you know if you’re on track to reach your goals or if your spending needs a bit of tweaking.
The most successful people didn’t get there alone; they surrounded themselves with specialists. Putting the best minds together toward the same goal is the best way to achieve success. To reach your goals in your career or in your personal life, you should start by making a list of important contacts. Use your computer’s contact-capturing system to record and organize the relevant people in your network. Beyond capturing their contact information, you should also write down how these people are relevant to your success. Highlight individuals who are exceptionally helpful in terms of providing advice, assisting with work, or opening doors for you. This will serve as a reminder of who to call on when you need help completing a particular task.
Successful people also write things down to help them proactively react to the unexpected. Keep a list of contingencies you need to execute in case an unfortunate event throws a wrench in your finances. For instance, listing out the measures you need in place to deal with emergencies like a sudden job loss will help you be better prepared if it occurs.
Similarly, jotting down how to deal with sudden issues such as a decline in health or major home or auto repairs will help you identify the resources you can turn to in your time of need. For instance, purchasing insurance or setting up an emergency fund will prepare you for the unexpected. The exercise of thinking through these potential events and proactively knowing how to deal with them can provide peace of mind and preserve your financial health.
By organizing what is most important in your life, you can set yourself up for success both professionally and personally. Preparing for whatever comes your way helps ensure your goals won’t get thrown off course.