A better way to plan your day

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Most of us make lists. Tasks we need to do, projects we need to work on, errands we need to run. 

The process of making lists helps us to think about what we need to do; the list itself serves as a reminder of what still needs to be done. 

The problem with making to-do lists, however, is that we often haven’t thought through why we’re doing the things on our list. We might keep busy but we aren’t necessarily productive. 

We can flip the switch on this by adding one additional step. 

Before writing a list of tasks, think about your desired outcomes. At the end of the day, (week, year, etc.), what do you want to have accomplished?

What would that look like? How would you feel?

Write that down. 

Then, write your list. 

Without thinking in outcomes, your to-do list might include an assortment of calls, letters, meetings, and documents you need to prepare. Will doing these things help you achieve your goals? 

Maybe, maybe not.

On the other hand, outcome thinking, or starting with the end in mind, helps you get clear about your purpose and helps you make a better list. 

If your desired outcomes for the week are to settle two cases and sign up one new client, for example, your list would prioritize tasks likely to achieve those outcomes.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how busy you were. All that matters is that that you achieved your desired outcomes, and how good that feels.

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