Two Lists You Should Look at Every Morning

2 lists to make every dayThe Harvard Business Review published a great article called Two Lists You Should Look at Every Morning. In it, Peter Bregman writes about the importance of managing the incoming information in our everyday lives. This is especially important for business owners who want to grow their business.

Knowing What's Important

The world is moving fast and it’s only getting faster,” he says. “So we try to speed up to match the pace of the action around us. We stay up until 3 a.m. trying to answer all our emails. We Twitter, we Facebook, and we Linkedin. We scan news websites wanting to make sure we stay up-to-date on the latest updates. And we salivate each time we hear the beep or vibration of a new text message.” But Bregman says that’s a mistake. “Trying to catch it all is counterproductive. The faster the waves come, the more deliberately we need to navigate. Otherwise we’ll get tossed around like so many particles of sand, scattered to oblivion. Never before has it been so important to be grounded and intentional and to know what’s important.”

The Importance of Saying "No"

He goes on to say, “Never before has it been so important to say ‘No.’ No, I’m not going to read that article. No, I’m not going to read that email. No, I’m not going to take that phone call. No, I’m not going to sit through that meeting.” The consequences of not saying ‘No’ can be disastrous. Trying to focus on too many things has been proven to cause exhaustion, confusion, nervousness, and irritability. Ironically, the solution is to be willing to risk missing some information. Bregman suggests that you pause, prioritize, focus, and make two lists: your “Focus List” and your “Ignore List.” Tweet This

Two Lists

“Your Focus List is about the road ahead,” says Bregman. Ask yourself: What are you trying to achieve? What makes you happy? What’s important to you? Design your time around those things. Your Ignore List is about the distractions. To succeed in using your time wisely, you have to ask the equally important but often avoided complementary questions: What are you willing not to achieve? What doesn’t make you happy? What’s not important to you? What gets in the way? These two lists are your map for each day. Review them each morning, along with your calendar, and ask: What’s the plan for today? Where will I spend my time? How will it further my focus? How might I get distracted? Then find the courage to follow through, make choices, and maybe disappoint a few people.

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