Monday, April 28, 2008

Lists : For success, To measure Success and To repeat Success

Lists are so important. They already part of our life day and night. List of daily life chores, items, tasks, bills, receipts, photos, memories and everything. That gives us an idea what we are up to, where we need to go.

I would categories list into two categories. One is list of items to-do. Another is list of items which are done/accomplished/achieved. The list of items to-do shows us what need to achieved. It allows us to remain focused and stay aligned with the goals and objectives.

The list can start in morning with various simple tasks, get each task ticked off when complete, while items will be added depending on day's progress and then remaining tasks from the list will formulate the part of next day's list. And while looking back through the time and sighting those marked lists, it will give the sense of completion, progress and accomplishment at personal level and at team level too.

Each list may have some tasks which we do not like to do et all but needs to be done. Some tasks, we like to repeat endlessly but does not fits into the life and the concept of society. And sometimes the list has tasks which are important and which we like to do. Lists are either containing one time tasks like getting married or repetitive tasks like going to office/school everyday. The lists keep running and moving forward.

The lists can be prepared on paper, online on Internet, offline on napkins or might be inside our own mind. The place does not matter as long as the lists are followed to the end, completed tasks are marked and remaining & additional items are carried forward.

I have noticed the list gives senses of having in control of what need to be done in this world where the consistent thing is the change. It allows us to look forward for sensing what need to be done in future. The completed list gives us much needed feeling of accomplishment and energy to rise for the occasion for the tasks on the list in hand.

The list for shopping keeps the needs and the wishes pretty separate. It allows to achieve the budget. It allows to bring the items which are required and are urgent.

The list for daily tasks gives the glimpse of the day ahead. Each task then can be broken into small sub lists and can be executed one after another. Or the most difficult but important task could be performed earlier while leaving the smaller task for later part of the list. This reminds me a story.

One day a father approached his family. He had a glass jar, some stones and lots of sand. He asked his family to fill in the jar with all those items. Those who filled in the sand could not get stones in. While bigger stones took almost all the space. The father shown a trick. He broke the bigger stone and pushed the smaller stone pieces down in the glass jar. Then poured sand and then remaining stones. Voila, the jar been filled and nothing remained outside. :D)

Another observation, when there is a project... anything from cleaning house to achieving certain highly sought after deliverable with certain deadline, instead of breaking it in small task list and execute it at a time, mostly tendency is to wait till last moment and try to do that in one big bite. Well, not always this leads to success.

We need lists for success, to measure success and to repeat success. Isn't that your observation ? Can you tell if list make any difference ? How you list the items/tasks?



Vas said...

making a list for everything is just like writing an essay; you break things down into chunks, and your essay basically writes itself. wise words of my government teacher in high school. good post, check my blog out too.

Craig said...

I find I have to have lists just to stay sane! If I stuff all jumbled up in my head I can not stay focused. I find it very important to keep a trusted system that you revisit often or else keeping lists is useless. :)

PhoenixBlogger said...

Thanks Craig

True,I agree with you about lists keeping us sane. And you have raised the nice point about the trusted system. The internet, the mobile devices and Laptops/PCs can make the list very automated and "probably mostly" available. Depending on the energy supply, internet access etc for the same. Another system which is very manual and can be maintained using a simple pocket notepad and a pen. This system could be handy anytime.

But I would not like to be partial to either of the above mentioned approaches.

I remember one story of The all powerful King Akber's vazir (prime minister) Birbal here. The king had asked one question in his court. "What is the best weapon to perform self defence ?" . Every member of the court had tried to answer the question mentioning their own favorite weapon and its training etc etc. And Birbal had answered in his witty way that "The best weapon to perform self defence is the one which available at the time and handy to use". Obviously the King had become very curious and questioned the wise Vazir "why is so and can he clearify about it". Birbal went on sharing his life threatening experience that morning. While walking to the court through narrow lanes of Delhi, the capital of Mogul King's kingdom. Right that time a huge elephant got out of control and had started rampage on the road crushing anything which was coming to its way. All pedestarians were startled and started to run for their lives. Birbal watched the horror in the faces of the crowd and approaching elephant. He looked around and noticed a dog barking on the rampant elephant. Next thing Birbal did was to pickup the dog and throw it on that mad elephant's head. The dog landed on the elephant's neck and dug his nails in there. That sudden painful grip made the elephant to stop right the place. The story convinced the almighty King and he accepted the answer and the reason behind it.