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10 Lists to Keep If You Want to Be Successful

10 Lists to Keep If You Want to Be Successful

The human mind is truly incredible, and we should all strive towards creating a tenacious memory we can rely on. Many lucrative professions or hobbies require such a trait—actors, musicians, artists and entertainers in general do countless drills, just so the required information can be embedded in the memory with certainty. Clearly numerous doors that lead to a successful future are unlocked if one has a great memory. Although beneficial, it is not an essential ingredient within the success formula—what you lack in memory can always be compensated with diligence.

Keeping track of crucial elements in your life through list-making is still an unrivaled tactic for counterbalancing feeble recollection. By utilizing constant reminders, we can have significantly greater organization, we won’t be under the impression we have forgotten something, and we will have a clear insight into which task has a stamp of immediacy attached to it. Here are ten suggested lists that warrant implementation, in order to track achievements and nurture ambition.

1. List of Goals

369468-reach-for-the-stars

    “What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”

    —Zig Ziglar

    Goals and ambition is what drives us and motivates us, but we need to ask ourselves what is it that we want in order to feel truly accomplished. Your list of goals should consists of all the items that you deem are necessary to truly respect yourself. It can be financial stability, a place you can call your own, starting your family, being independent, etc. People have different criteria when it comes to goals, and this list in particular is ever-growing; it changes as you mature, but it always feels great when you cross something out of it. Without such a list, you lose direction of where your life is heading, and we all need some inner guidance to focus on—a good reason to get up in the morning.

    2. List of Tasks

    lucid-dream

      “Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best.”

      —Theodore Isaac Rubin

      Tasks are actually milestones on the road to goal completion, and these lists have a tendency to become quite copious. New tasks emerge on a daily basis, regardless of whether you are an employee, a student, or a freelancer. Despite the fact that they are arduous, we always have some sense of achievement once the task is complete, or when a certain problem is solved. By avoiding to make such lists and lists of our daily tasks, they’ll simply pile up and eventually become a hindrance.

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      In the event you have larger tasks that need more than a day, a week or a month before they can be completed, then break those tasks into smaller daily assignments, and put them on the list as well. As long as you monitor larger tasks while completing minor daily milestones, you will have a greater grip on progression and continuous source of motivation. List and sticky notes are actually quite potent tools for increase in productivity, especially while we are working from home.

      Lastly, it is worth mentioning that you should also have a list of personal tasks, or tasks you do for the sake of self-fulfillment. These are related to your personal goals, and governing passions—writing a book, painting, crafting etc. These tasks will define you and offer a much greater sense of achievement, so give it your all to create something you can be proud of.

      3. List of Contacts

      contact_us

        “Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow ripening fruit.”

        —Aristotle

        It would be delusional to assume you can make it all on your own; however, at the same time, a flawed partnership can result in disastrous outcome as well. It is extremely difficult to find compatible allies and contacts, since friends and family—in other words, people close to you—may not be the best choice for a business partner. If you want to enter into a partnership with someone, make sure the person shares the same vision. Tread lightly and try to ascertain your potential partner’s level of reliability.

        Throughout life, we come across skillful, capable and talented people, whose competence might be needed in the future, depending on your line of work of course. Do not be hesitant to offer a helping hand when they are in need, since you can gain a valuable contact. The point being: make a special list of all important contacts, like reliable programmers, handymen, lawyers, etc. Remember not to only reach out when you are in need. You need to maintain a healthy and natural relationship and be there for those people if they require your assistance. Truth be told, it can be arduous to forge strong friendship bonds, but having important acquaintances and becoming an important acquaintance is very much possible.

        Without such a list, you are leaving yourself vulnerable to possible future complications; moreover, make sure this list is well-kept since once you lose a contact like this one, it can be somewhat troublesome to recover such data. Just be sure you have recovery data tools at your disposal to mitigate the damage if something were to happen to your phone.

        4. List of Expenses

        coolest-money-tools

          “A wise person should have money in their head, but not in their heart.”

          —Jonathan Swift

          This may be a quite mundane piece of advice, yet it is very often neglected. As we all know, there are two types of expenses: those that are necessary, (bills, taxes, food) and those expenditures used for indulging some personal cravings. There is a degree of restraint that the majority of us lack in order to approach the matter with a satisfying level of prudence. To say it bluntly, we treat our wants like our needs, and necessities and primary obligations are pushed in the background. Of course, this may sound a bit exaggerated, but the truth is the pressure of a consumer’s culture eventually becomes overwhelming, resulting in a purchase we shouldn’t be able to afford at the time. This kind of behavior can be avoided by utilizing lists, and turning them into an omnipresent reminder of what is truly important.

          By making lists of all the monthly expenses we are obligated to pay, we’ll have a clear overview with how much resources are there at our disposal. On the other hand, without this list filled with meticulous calculations, we are prone to believing that we have more freedom to engage in a shopping spree, ultimately causing our bills to pile up; thus, we end up a step closer to a financial suicide. Handling finances properly, or the fact that we prioritize the costs of living, is a responsibility that signifies maturity. Success is commonly measured by the amount of wealth and without adequate spending tactics, you prevent its accumulation.

          5. List of Useful Tools

          Useful-Apps

            “If you’re the type of person who has to fulfill your dreams, you’ve got to be resourceful to make sure you can do it.”

            —Vin Diesel

            Today’s society vastly depends on the use of technology—we exchange information, conduct calculations, measure time, etc. This level of reliability also suggests liability. If something were to happen to our cell phone or personal computer, it would be a sizable setback that could harm our capabilities severely. As mentioned, losing contacts can truly be troublesome. It is even worse however, to have your life’s work lost and compromised.

            Useful tools are not only limited to recovering damage; they also encompass tools that make your job easier. With efficiency and a greater level of competence, you are a step closer toward success. Using the right apps and tools can make up for our lack of skills in a particular area, or simply help us manage our work in a more timely manner. Keeping a list of useful tools will come in handy whenever you are faced with more common problems, like finding a good restaurant for a business dinner, driving through unfamiliar terrain, task management, learning, and there are even tools capable of helping you recover stolen property.

            Even though the list is not as crucial as the ones mentioned so far, it is undeniable that having it can save you a lot of time if the need for it ever arises. The Internet is a vast sea of both useful and useless tools, and by filtering out those that are irrelevant, you won’t have to conduct countless searches when you are in need of adequate tools for problem solving.

            6. List of Self Improvements

            meditation

              “The minute that you’re not learning I believe you’re dead.”

              —Jack Nicholson

              Reasonable to assume this one is unavoidable, and it always deserves to be mentioned. It is safe to assume we are all aware of our shortcomings; if not all of them at least some of them. Think about yourself, make a list of all the things you would like to improve or change, then consider how to implement those changes. Despite the fact that those who are close to you do not pressure you into changing or improving, you should always make constant endeavours to do so, for your own sake.

              The list of improvements should consist of physical changes, changes spiritual in nature, abandoning bad habits etc. No one expects you to change entirely in a short time period, but making a decision to change one thing on a yearly basis is a viable resolution, quite easy to execute. The list is there simply to remind you which improvement to prioritize, and build up your confidence after each completion. Refusing to change can either result in lack of confidence and depression, or becoming an overconfident and self-absorbed person that no one will tolerate for long; both of these traits are contradictory to your quest for a successful future.

              7. List of Creative Ideas

              motorsport_idea

                “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

                —Waldo Emerson

                Throughout history, people who made the most significant impact on the world were those with a revolutionary way of thinking, those who dared to challenge the established order and alter the status quo. For an idea to be classified as creative, it needs to be new, it needs to make sense, and it needs to have some sort of use. For example, creating something to help the disabled communicate online, or simply type—that way, people who have lost their limbs could blog or become creative writers, and show the world a piece of their mind. Thus a keyboard in a form of braces could enable them to type using their tongue; however I am not an engineer, so I do not know whether something like this is possible.

                Whenever a new idea comes to your mind write it down, then browse the web to see if you indeed have stumbled upon something ground-breaking. Once your list has grown, then you need to start pondering on the subject to see whether it holds closer scrutiny. Ask for a second opinion and see what you would need to realize your idea. In a majority of cases, this is how successful people are created. Rest assured that it is very possible that people won’t be impressed with your creativity as much as you are, but do not allow yourself to be discouraged—after all, perseverance has a crucial role in a career as well. Monitoring your thoughts incites productive thinking and hones your focus; it keeps our mind occupied. Letting your good ideas slide is only a wasted potential that will put your progress in a halt.

                8. List of Future Plans

                clock

                  “The future is uncertain but the end is always near.”

                  ―Jim Morrison

                  We have all heard statements like “Tomorrow is a mystery,” “Live for today,” and “You can’t affect the future.” Personally, I heavily disagree with such a point of view. Although I do agree that, in particular circumstances, making plans for the future is doing Sisyphus work, not planning it at all seems utterly mortifying. I also believe that everyone makes some sort of plan; the problem is this fear of uncertainty that thwarts our will to act.

                  To make your resolve more adamant, compile a list of your future plans, see what you need in order to make them come true. This one is very similar to the first list—the one with goals; the difference is, it does not have to involve your personal future. Rather, it is list of upcoming important events, important changes in law, or upcoming trends, useful software, etc. It will keep you well-informed and prepared, since staying updated and relevant are essential virtues for lucrative businessmen.

                  9. List of Contingency Plans

                  emergency-checklist

                    “You pray for rain, you gotta deal with the mud too. That’s a part of it.”

                    —Denzel Washington

                    Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, meaning there is nothing you can do without consequences. Every attempt to be more successful usually has a set of barriers attached to it, or risks. Even though risks are inevitable, being prepared for the aftermath is always a good and necessary thing. When you plan your business incentives, or when you plan to invest in something, make sure you compose a thorough pros and cons list, as well as a list of possible negative scenarios. In the event that positive aspects outweigh the negative ones, you can be more encouraged to proceed further.

                    Make an effort to be constantly prepared for the backlash of major initiatives, and contain the possible damage. The lack of contingency implies recklessness, and it was adamantly made clear how this approach contradicts advancement. Make leaps of faith only when you have no other options to explore.

                    10. Bucket List

                    bucket-list-riw-bucket

                      “The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and for deeds left undone.”

                      —Harriet Beecher Stowe

                      Finally, learn to live for the sake of experiencing what life has to offer. It is invigorating, to say the least, and it keeps your regrets at minimum. One of the reasons why we want to be successful is to actually fulfil our dreams or complete our bucket list, to look back on our life during old age with a warm smile rather than a frown. Feel free to put even the impossible things on your bucket list, and find the next best thing using your creativity. Whenever you reach a rough patch in your life, take a look at you bucket list and see what is the most plausible thing to do in order to restore your will power and keep going.

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                      Djordje Todorovic

                      Blogger, Gamer Extraordinaire

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                      Forget Learning How to Multitask: Boost Productivity 10X More with Focus

                      Forget Learning How to Multitask: Boost Productivity 10X More with Focus

                      There’s a dark side to the conveniences of the Digital Age. With smartphones that function like handheld computers, it has become increasingly difficult to leave our work behind. Sometimes it seems like we’re expected to be accessible 24/7.

                      How often are you ever focused on just one thing? Most of us try to meet these demands by multi-tasking.

                      Many of us have bought into the myth that we can achieve more through multi-tasking. In this article, I’ll show you how you can accomplish more work in less time. Spoiler alert: multi-tasking is not the answer.

                      Why is multitasking a myth?

                      The term “multi-tasking” was originally used to describe how microprocessors in computers work. Machines multitask, but people cannot.

                      Despite our inability to simultaneously perform two tasks at once, many people believe they are excellent multi-taskers.

                      You can probably imagine plenty of times when you do several things at once. Maybe you talk on the phone while you’re cooking or respond to emails during your commute.

                      Consider the amount of attention that each of these tasks requires. Chances are, at least one of the two tasks in question is simple enough to be carried out on autopilot.

                      We’re okay at simultaneously performing simple tasks, but what if you were trying to perform two complex tasks? Can you really work on your presentation and watch a movie at the same time? It can be fun to try to watch TV while you work, but you may be unintentionally making your work more difficult and time-consuming.

                      Your brain on multi-tasking

                      Your brain wasn’t designed to multi-tasking. To compensate, it will switch from task to task. Your focus turns to whatever task seems more urgent. The other task falls into the background until you realize you’ve been neglecting it.

                      When you’re bouncing back and forth like this, an area of the brain known as Broadmann’s Area 10 activates. Located in your fronto-polar prefrontal cortex at the very front of the brain, this area controls your ability to shift focus. People who think they are excellent multitaskers are really just putting Broadmann’s Area 10 to work.

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                      But I can juggle multiple tasks!

                      You are capable of taking in information with your eyes while doing other things efficiently. Scientifically speaking, making use of your vision is the only thing you can truly do while doing something else.

                      For everything else, you’re serial tasking. This constant refocusing can be exhausting, and it prevents us from giving our work the deep attention it deserves.

                      Think about how much longer it takes to do something when you have to keep reminding yourself to focus.

                      Why multitasking is failing you

                      Multitasking does more bad than good to your productivity, here’re 4 reasons why you should stop multitasking:

                      Multitasking wastes your time.

                      You lose time when you interrupt yourself. People lose an average of 2.1 hours per day getting themselves back on track when they switch between tasks.

                      In fact, some studies suggest that doing multiple things at once decreases your productivity by as much as 40%. That’s a significant loss in efficiency. You wouldn’t want your surgeon to be 40% less productive while you’re on the operating table, would you?

                      It makes you dumber.

                      A distracted brain performs a full 10 IQ points lower than a focused brain. You’ll also be more forgetful, slower at completing tasks, and more likely to make mistakes.

                      You’ll have to work harder to fix your mistakes. If you miss an important detail, you could risk injury or fail to complete the task properly.

                      This is an emotional response.

                      There’s so much data suggesting that multitasking is ineffective but people insist that they can multitask.

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                      Feeling productive fulfills an emotional need. We want to feel like we’re accomplishing something. Why accomplish just one item on the to-do list when you can check off two or three?

                      It’ll wear you out.

                      When you’re jumping from task to task, it can feel invigorating for a little while. Over time, this needs to fill every second with more and more work leads to burn out.

                      We’re simply not built to multitask, so when we try, the effect can be exhausting. This destroys your productivity and your motivation.

                      How to stop multitasking and work productively

                      Flitting back and forth between tasks feels second-nature after a while. This is in part because Broadmann’s Area 10 becomes better at serial tasking through time.

                      In addition to changing how the brain works, this serial tasking behavior can quickly turn into a habit.

                      Just like any bad habit, you’ll need to recognize that you need to make a change first. Luckily, there are a few simple things you can do to adjust to a lifestyle of productive mono-tasking:

                      1. Consciously change gears

                      Instead of trying to work on two distinct tasks at once, consider setting up a system to remind you when to change focus. This technique worked for Jerry Linenger, an American astronaut onboard the space station, Mir.

                      As an astronaut, he had many things to take care of every day. He set alarms for himself on a few watches. When a particular watch sounded, he knew it was time to switch tasks. This enabled him to be 100% in tune with what he was doing at any given moment.

                      This strategy is effective because the alarm served as his reminder for what was to come next. Linenger’s intuition about setting reminders falls in line with research conducted by Paul Burgess of University College, London on multitasking.

                      2. Manage multiple tasks without multitasking

                      Raj Dash of Performancing.com has an effective strategy for balancing multiple projects without multitasking. He suggests taking 15 minutes to acquaint yourself with a new project before moving on to other work. Revisit the project later and do about thirty minutes on research and brainstorming.

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                      Allow a few days to pass before knocking out the project in question. While you were actively work on other projects, your brain continues to problem solve-in the background.

                      This method works because it gives us the opportunity to work on several projects without allowing them to compete for your attention.

                      3. Set aside distractions

                      Your smartphone, your inbox and the open tabs on your computer are all open invitations for distraction. Give yourself time each day when you silence your notifications, close your inbox and remove unnecessary tabs from your desktop.

                      If you want to focus, you can’t give anything else an opportunity to invade your mental space.

                      Emails can be particularly invasive because they often have an unnecessary sense of urgency associated with them. Some work cultures stress the importance of prompt responses to these messages, but we can’t treat every situation like an emergency.

                      Designate certain times in your day for checking and responding to emails to avoid compulsive checking.

                      4. Take care of yourself

                      We often blame electronics for pulling us from our work, but sometimes our physical body forces us into a state of serial tasking. If you’re hungry while you’re trying to work, your attention will flip between your hunger and your work until you take care of your physical needs.

                      Try to take all your bio-breaks before you sit down for an uninterrupted stint of work.

                      In addition, you’ll also want to be sure you’re attending to your health in a broader sense. Getting enough exercise, practicing mindfulness and incorporating regular breaks into your day will keep you from being tempted by distractions.

                      5. Take a break

                      People are more likely to head to YouTube or check their social media when they need a break. Instead of trying to work and watch a mindless video at the same time, give yourself times when you’re allowed to enjoy your distracting activity of choice.

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                      Limit how much time you’ll spend on this break so that your guilt-free distraction time doesn’t turn into hours of wasted time.

                      6. Make technology your ally

                      Scientists are beginning to discover the detrimental effects of chronic serial tasking on our brains. Some companies are developing programs to curb this desire to multitask.

                      Apps like Forest turn staying focused into a game. Extensions like RescueTime help you track your online habits so that you can be more aware of how you spend your time.

                      The key to productivity: Focus

                      Multitasking is not the key to productivity. It’s far better to schedule time to focus on each task than it is to try to do everything at once.

                      Make use of the methods outlined above and prepare to be more effective and less exhausted in the process.

                      If you want to learn more about how to focus, don’t miss my other article:

                      How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

                      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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