This is what happened when I created a TO-DO list and FOLLOWED it.

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If you are a super-organized person, this post will seriously bore you.

But if you can sympathize with a sister who sometimes knows what she wants to do but hardly ever writes it down, then this is for you.

My friends, daily TO-DO lists work !!

Not the long boring ones you know very well you cannot complete in a single day.

I am talking about a short and focused one that you can knock out in a day.

Let me give you the story of how this went down.

My family and I moved into a new apartment at the end of October. (Side note : moving apartments with a 14-month old in tow is very, very stressful.)

In any case, we moved. I work full-time and so my unpacking was coming along r-e-a-l-l-y slowly. Apart from the kitchen and the bathroom, a lot of our stuff is still in boxes and bags.

Well, last night, I decided that I wanted to really get some of this unpacking done. A lot of unpacked stuff was in our guest room and so I decided to start with that first.

As I thought about that, I also began to think of other things I would love to do during my day that would help me move closer to achieving some goals I have written down and plan to achieve during the next 6 months.

So I went ahead, and wrote exactly what I wanted to do on a piece of paper which I stuck to the fridge.

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And then as I moved down along the list, I simply cancelled what I had done.

My system is not sophisticated but it worked. And as you can see, I did not particularly follow the order in which I wrote the items on the list.

As I write, I have 6/8 of the activities on this list done and although, I plan on completing number 6 before I go to bed (I did a bit of that in the morning on my walk by the way) and may not get to number 3, I certainly feel accomplished.

Why is Gertrude so excited about a mundane to-do list ?

I will tell you exactly why Gertrude is excited about a mundane to-do list.

I am excited about being able to execute the activities on my list for a few reasons –

  1. It’s been shown that although people will sometimes have goals they want to achieve, they never write those goals down.
  2. When you don’t write your goals down, you have no way of visualizing what exactly it is you want to do and so you can run around all day and yet achieve nothing.
  3. It’s been shown that people who plan (and execute those plans) earn up to 2 times more than their colleagues who don’t.
  4. Completing each one of these tasks brings me a step closer to achieving the goals 6-month goals I have set for myself from now until Spring 2015.
  5. If I did not write this list, it is very possible, I would have wasted the entire day engaging in low level activities that do not move me any closer to my goals or worse, done nothing at all.

There is not a single successful person who wakes up each morning with absolutely no agenda or structure.

That just does not happen for them. Successful people whether they will admit it or not, plan to win.

Zig Ziglar in his book Born To Win writes “Planning to win is the first step in the winning process and, unfortunately, people resist making a plan.

I have a 6-month plan drawn out that ends in April 2015. I have specific plans for my each arena of my life.  Will I achieve everything in that plan ? I don’t know. How about obstacles to those plans ? I don’t know about the obstacles either. They might be some or they might not be any. Whatever the case may be, we all have to plan to win, make a commitment to win and actually go out to win.

And we win by taking it day by day.

It’s the only way to win on this entrepreneurial journey.

So my challenge to you is to begin to lay out a strategic plan for your business and life for the next one month. Yes, you can think about 2015 but, we still have 5 weeks in 2014.

What do you plan to do within those 5 weeks that will move you closer to becoming successful at business and life ?

Write those goals down. Be specific and then draw out a strategy to achieve them.

I’d love to hear your comments below.