Sacha Cabral (@sachacabral)
NEW YORK, United States, Sunday May 1, 2016 – I am a list fanatic for two reasons. One, I have a horrible memory and chances are if you tell me something and I don’t write it down, I will forget it. Two, I juggle a lot of different roles from managing a team to running a blog to keeping the house stocked with food. That means I have a lot of things constantly running through my mind from if we have butter in the house to new development concepts that need to be discussed in our next team meeting.
So how do you keep it all together when you’re trying to remember a million things at once? My tactic is to keep a variety of lists.
#1 The Waiting For List
This has to be my favorite and possibly, my most crucial list. Quite often we have to work through others to achieve our goals. We need information, a task completed, etc. Whenever I am waiting for someone to get back to me with information, I simply make a note of their name, what I’m waiting on, and when I should expect it. Each day I’ll review my Waiting For list and follow up if the timing is appropriate. This helps me to keep projects on track.
#2 The Next Meeting List
We all have reoccurring meetings with critical team members and departments. If you don’t, you really should. It’s an important time to facilitate discussion, check in on timelines, and simply ensure everyone is on the same page. Some of these meetings are one-on-one and some are in a group setting. For all of these meetings, I keep a running list of the topics to cover as they arise. This allows me to focus on my work rather than running to someone’s desk each and every time a non-urgent idea pops up.
#3 The Networking List
I am a secret introvert. Left to myself, I’d have my head in a book with headphones on but I’m experienced enough to know that that’s not how business happens. One of the best things about my professional experience is that it’s pushed me to be a make-believe extrovert and know how and when to put it on. Creating, building, and maintaining relationships is a key strategy to business. These people could be your clients, your advisors, your cheerleaders, or help you progress. Therefore, I keep a list of the people I need to touch base or spend some time with as well as people I’d like to get to know.
#4 The Repeating Tasks List
There are certain tasks I need to do on a regular basis. I imagine you’re in the same situation. Some of these tasks are daily, some are weekly, or monthly. As I mentioned, I have a horrible memory. That’s why I like to put these tasks into a task manager which will remind me when needed. I use Todoist which has a great feature for reoccurring tasks.
#5 The Shopping List
Now I’m sure you rolled your eyes by the time you saw this heading and thought we could have really trimmed this article to six lists but the shopping list is critical. What I have observed most people do is one of two things. They either decide they will make a trip to the supermarket and then stand in front of the refrigerator with a blank stare trying to figure out all the things they need to get. The other way is that they just wing it and spend way more time trying to figure out what they really need in the aisles of the supermarket which usually leads to a waste of time and money.
Stop it, please. Whether you realize it or not your mind knows when you need something and that thing just floats around in your mind until you materialize it into a shopping list or you buy it. This can be so annoying. Sometimes I’m sitting in the middle of a meeting and it hits me that we need milk. Now I’m totally lost from the meeting. Save yourself the headache and the unnecessary thoughts floating through your mind and actively maintain a shopping list. There are a ton of apps made for this specific purpose. My favorite is Grocery IQ.
#6 The Bucket List
One night at dinner, my partner and I started to have the hypothetical conversation about all the things we would love to do. The places we would love to travel to, the concerts we wanted to see, the sporting events we wanted to experience. That night I jotted down this list in my phone as our bucket list.
Bucket lists are not reserved for people of a certain age. I think we should all have a bucket list and I believe that every year we should work towards actualizing one of those items. Otherwise, what’s the point of living?
#7 The Mind Dump List
This final list is what I would refer to as the emergency list. If you feel completely out to sea with all the things you need to complete it may be time for a simple mind dump. When our brain is trying to process too many things and keep track of too many to do’s, and to-buy’s, and to-call’s, and everything else, it can feel paralyzing.
This is where you literally dump everything that’s in your mind onto a piece of paper. Write it all down in no particular order. Once you’ve gotten everything out of your head start to filter out everything into your task lists, call lists, shopping lists, etc. You’ve now cleared room in your brain to work on the important things.
Sacha C. is a life coach, writer and speaker who works with emerging entrepreneurs and dream chasers to monetize their talent. She authors a weekly blog at www.sachac.com. Her topics include entrepreneurship, marketing, motivation, and interviews with featured entrepreneurs.