Managing My Lists

9924239-to-do-listI have a list of things I need to get done at home this weekend.  I have a list of projects I’m working on today.  I have a list of things I need to think about for the upcoming year.  I have a list of people I need to contact this next week.  I have a list of all of my lists!

We all have lists!

These lists can be completely overwhelming at times because we don’t like the lists.  Lists make us feel like we are never getting anything accomplished. Lists make us feel like there’s too much to do.  Lists remind us that we can’t do all that we really want to do!

Before the digital era began, I used to carry around with me a simple calendar that had a “to-do list” on it.  It was really simple:  I carried this with me everywhere, I created my daily list, then I crossed things off throughout the day and this gave me a sense of accomplishment.  There were times that I wouldn’t go home until my list was completed, and that drove me to work harder and faster.

The reality is that I LOVE LISTS.  Lists help me set goals, they help me create priorities and they help me see what I’ve accomplished.  Today I’m looking at my list for the day, and I’ve taken that list and created timeframes on my calendar to accomplish the tasks that I need to get done.

Lists either help you be more productive or they discourage you by their constant reminders and their never-ending nagging.

Here are some thoughts on how to make your lists work better:

#1)  Manage Your To-Do List  (See the complete Tip Sheet HERE)

– Make a list of everything you need to do or want to do.

– Walk through that list and eliminate anything that you can

– Prioritize your list based on urgency and importance

– Make this a part of your everyday habits.

#2)  Create Incentive Around Your Lists

– When you accomplish your list, celebrate!

– Make your lists of things to do in the morning, and don’t add to it until the next day.

– Make shorter lists around certain themes or projects.  This gives you a more frequent sense of accomplishment.

#3)  Make The Time to Work on Your List

– We often make the list, but don’t set the time aside to accomplish the tasks

– Make an appointment with yourself during the day to work on your list

#4)  Be Realistic With Your Lists

– Know and understand your personal boundaries and realities

– Don’t allow yourself to write things down that you will NEVER do!  Get out of this habit.

– Be willing to ask for help when you can’t do it all.  Know who you can call on for support.

If you can learn to MANAGE YOUR LISTS, you will find a renewed sense of satisfaction as you accomplish the things you have determined to be the most important things.   Learning to do this effectively takes time and it takes practice.  Now is a great time to start!


Russ Cline has wide experience in church, mission, and global leadership. Beginning in the local church in Southern California, then moving to Ecuador for 16 years to be a part of launching three distinct organizations, Russ is now back in Southern California working with Extreme Response International in providing leadership coaching and organizational development to leaders around the world. Russ' passion is to come alongside organizations and to help them identify areas of growth, focus and change, resulting in greater impact and effectiveness. Russ graduated from Azusa Pacific University with a degree in Business and Christian Education and completed his graduate work in Organizational Development. He has been married for 31 years to Gina, and they have three kids: Rheanna, Riley and Raylin. To learn more about Russ, visit: Write directly to Russ at: twitter: leadwithruss, leadermundial

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