The fatal flaw of “to-do” lists is that they tend to attract the mundane. When was the last time you had something earth-shattering on your to-do list? To-do lists are rarely prioritized and also contain the seeds of box checking mentality, creating a false sense of progress.

A “Success List” on the other hand contains the “vital few”, the things you MUST do v. should do/be nice to do things. Look back on your day and think about what moved you the closest to your biggest, most important goals, what actions were MOST important; that is the core of your Success List. Think forward to the ONE THING you could do tomorrow that would have the greatest positive impact on your life, that needs to be at the top of your Success List. Think of a Success List as a ruthlessly edited to-do list or a to-do list on steroids. To-do lists are long, Success Lists tend to be short.

Now I’ve used to-do lists all my life and I’ve found them very useful in motivating and directing my energies; I’ve often used a modified form with three headings in a horizontal line: immediate, mid-term, and long term. Or quick items, things I need to do something to move them along and longer term goals I want to work on. Creating a Success List is an important way to maintain a high-level focus on the truly important, the highest leverage activities, the Big Rocks. We still need to take care of the day to day and a to-do list serves a function there; just make sure that it does not overwhelm our energies or dominate our days; things that matter most should never be at the mercy of things that matter least.

Closing Quotes:

“It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?” – Henry David Thoreau

“Being busy and being productive are not necessarily the same. Many people keep busy to avoid taking action on things they are afraid to pursue.” – Lauren Mackler

“Long hours spent checking off a to-do list and ending the day with a full trash can and a clean desk are not virtuous and have nothing to do with success. Instead of a to-do list, you need a success list—a list that is purposefully created around extraordinary results. One pulls you in all directions; the other aims you in a specific direction. One is a disorganized directory, and the other is an organized directive.” – Gary Keller, The One Thing

As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier