Thursday, January 28, 2010


I love lists. Sure, some people see them as oppressive, anal-retentive or as unnecessary encumbrances. I see them as "outsourced neurons". They are tools that capture important (to one degree or another; in various facets of my life) things to think about, achieve, remember, reflect on, etc. that I would likely omit, overlook, "miss out on" if I didn't have a tool or mechanism to remind myself. 

I literally have a dozen or more lists that I, to one degree or another depending on the list, check periodically and review and updated. My to-do list, of course, is always near (on my iPhone, my office PC and always available in "the cloud"), my "just read/currently reading/read next" list, my movies-to-watch list, my "bucket list", my "centering/reflection/inspiration" list (which includes lists of questions to ask the important people in my life about our relationships; questions to ask myself, etc.), and a few others. Peter Bregman suggests we keep the following two lists for daily use that prompt us to ask ourselves a series of questions important questions to focus our decision-making:

List 1: Your Focus List (the road ahead)

Bregman suggests: "Design your time around these things. Because time is your one limited resource and no matter how hard you try you can't work 25/8."

1. What are you trying to achieve?

2. What makes you happy?

3. What's important to you?

List 2: Your Ignore List (the distractions)

Bregman: "To succeed in using your time wisely, you have to ask the equally important but often avoided complementary questions:"  (which follow)

1. What are you willing not to achieve?

2. What doesn't make you happy?

3. What's not important to you?

4. What gets in the way?

My first list would be a bit different that Bregman's:

1. How will you make a difference today?

2. Will you give your best and be present in each moment you are in?

3. How will you help others today?

4. Will you focus your thoughts, words and actions on positive outcomes?

I don't have Bregman's second list, but a start might be:

1. I will ignore pettiness and gossip

2. I will not spend time defending myself or blaming others

3. I will not let the urgent drown out the important

4. I will not let my responsiveness to those I am not with invade the time I have with those I am with

I think I have the first list covered. The second one could use some work! Let me add that to my to-do list...

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