Use lists as a guide, not as a crutch.

Use lists as a guide, not as a crutch.

The internet is bulging with lists. Eight words to avoid in emails, six secrets for successful interviews, eleven things to think about when planning a conference and so on.

Many of these are created just to generate traffic on the list publisher’s website. One of the most famous – and successful – is 21 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity which generated more than 13 million views.

When padded out to create an easy to read article, they’re called listicles (list+ article). Some are helpful, many have no credibility and offer no evidence that they work. It’s impossible to follow them all and nor should you be tempted to use a tick-the-box style of management.

Create your lists

Create your own lists and better still, refer to them as guidelines. Include recommendations from trusted sources. Use a combination of skill, experience, sound advice and common sense to develop guidelines that work for you.

Remember, every presentation, media conference, sales pitch, speech and publicity campaign is different so your guidelines are merely a framework on which to hang your best ideas.

If you’re doing something highly technical, like landing a wide-body jet or conducting a tricky scientific experiment, a checklist is essential.

For anything else, focus on your objectives and you’ll do a good job every time.

If you need to prioritize several tasks prepare a list of the top six the night before. Arrange them in descending order of priority. The next day, focus on the first item. Don’t move to the next objective until. the first is complete, or you’ve taken it as far as you can.

Work through your list this way and, at the end of the day transfer any uncompleted tasks to the next day’s list. For this to work, you must keep the list to six items and each day’s tasks must be prioritized as before.

This system was developed in the 1920s by Ivy Ledbetter Lee and is still used by many successful business leaders, including Warren Buffett.

If you liked, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for video content. You can also find us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin.

You will also like