< back to index

The Mighty List

October 10, 2012

How do people get so much done in one day?  Or a lifetime?  If your days seem long and your goals out of reach, its time to make a list.  Why?  Writing down your goals, brainstorming, and keeping track of your progress is the swiftest path to success…and will help you stay cool along the way.

Get out a (large) piece of paper, pen, and your ideas.  It’s time for some old fashioned list making (also known as effective task management).  These list tips are passed on from Seth Godin, Adam Savage, and our own personal strategies.  Got a pen?  Terrific.  Here we go…

Adam Savage (creator of MythBusters fame) says he begins each project with a simple list.  We read his strategy, found it useful, and we think you will too.

Here’s what Adam says:

Write down what you want to achieve.  Build a website, design an app, open a restaurant serving your grandmother’s chili recipe.  Whatever you’re going after, write that down.  This will be useful along your journey and pull you towards your destination.

Now that you have your destination in sight, create a folder or get a box to start collecting (and containing) images, articles, and thoughts concerning your project.  Fill that folder up.  Now break down your project into sub categories and create folders for each sub category.  Place these sub categories within your main folder/container.  This will help you stay organized as your ideas grows and help you build new folders for the unforeseeable future.  Finally create a progress folder.  As you get closer to your goal, take photos of your progress. This will be encouraging when you’re still reaching for that goal of yours and will help you know how much work you have done or have yet to do.

That’s one way of doing things.  Here’s another…

Seth Godin, one of the most famous entrepreneurs of our day turned us on to an online list builder and task management system called teuxdeux.

Here’s what it looks like:


And that’s pretty much all you need to know.  This is a simple, day by day list making app which organizes your tasks by the days of the week with space at the bottom for larger tasks or reaching goals.  There’s also an app for your phone.  This is an extremely easy and attractive application to help you get your stuff done and keep your folders online (or in your phone).  Pretty great.  Thanks Seth.

What are list making strategies we like?  The old four corners list technique.  A good friend (who works in an ad agency) taught me this one and its worked wonders for our business and personal lives…its also entertaining.

Take a blank sheet of paper and draw a horizontal line, then a vertical line dividing the page into four squares.  In the upper left hand square write in tasks which are the most time sensitive.  Things with approaching deadlines.  You get it.  In the lower left hand square write the tasks which aren’t so pressing but will be soon.  In the upper right hand square write the tasks less pressing than the second square tasks.  Then save the lower right hand square for larger tasks.  As you complete one task and move on to another your squares will shift, and you’ll track your progress.

It will look like this:

And save you hours of stress.

The secret to every list?  Make sure your tasks are leading to a goal.  Tasks help you achieve these goals and help you keep a record of them along the way.  If you’re not creating goals and keeping track of your business, you won’t get very far.

Do you have a list technique that works for you?  We’d love to hear them.