>Where’s Your "A" List?

15 Jan

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We all want to be more organized so we can spend more time in our creative adventures.  There are ways that you can create a list of tasks that give you more focus, and leads to more time to be productive .  Take time out to know if you have a real plan.  Do you have an “A” list?  An “A” list is your first list that has your time management issues addressed and prioritized.  It is different from a “to do” list because a “to do” list simply can not include all of the aspects of your life.  If you have a  complex life, then a simple to-do list is not an effective system.  You need something with more sophistication, or maybe a combination of different types of lists.

What makes a to-do list so challenging?  Do you have a list of to-dos that include a bunch of other stuff such as: items you don’t need to do anything with right now but may have to step aside and wait on someone else, items that you want to do later but don’t really have time for right now, and also larger projects that are not a simple one-step task, but instead a project that has lots of to-dos as part of it.

You’ll need to separate these lists because your mind finds it difficult to focus.  As you look at your to-do list, and are already overwhelmed, or stressed  it may be because many items on the list are really things that should not be on that to-do list in the first place. Many different types of lists are helpful to have.  Your “A” list should be the list that contains the daily priority items and should have a small number of items on the list (usually less than eight).  

Your second list should be the general to-do list. If you are really busy and have lots of items on your list you might want to separate this into important to-dos and less important items.  Another type of list could be the “hold” list. On that list are items you don’t want to do right now but might want to turn into action in the near future. You may even want to separate this list into “on hold for a short time” and “someday maybe”, with the distinction being that the first list is stuff that you don’t want to do now but will want to do in the next few weeks and the someday maybe list is stuff that you might want to do some time, but have no intention of doing in the near term future.

Lists are important because they each have a purpose and are a landing pad for your ideas that enable to you to be more realistic about the fact that you can’t accomplish everything in your life right now. You can however, accomplish items one at a time, at the right time, and in due time.

Just when you think that I am finished reporting on the types of lists you can have…I add a few more to this blog.  Another type of list is a list of items that you are waiting to follow up on. This is where you are waiting on someone to take action or get back to you. And the list that is most popular at the beginning of a new year in particular is a list of goals. This is the medium and longer term stuff that you want to achieve in your life. Goal setting is a very powerful process and if you don’t have written goals this is something that you definitely should do and review often as well.

Projects and next actions are also types of lists that you can make that take into account all items that will take multiple action steps to achieve. Working on projects always involves steps to work through and knowing how you will work out what the next action step is, pushes your actions into forward motion.  With any type of list you are working with at any given time, there may or may not be an imposed time frame for the completion of the listed items.  That is fine.  Even though joy comes from making a check-in-the-box, it is also just as satisfying to have a list in the first place made to visualize your goals and watch your progressions unfold.

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