Out of sight, out of mind

How much progress have you made towards your personal development plan for the year? Did you complete your tasks for the week? If you can answer these questions without having to do some digging, congratulations you are ahead of most people already.

Many people make lists. New years’ resolutions are an often joked about list. They represent a classic example of what happens to most lists. People write them down, then forget about them. The act of writing down what you intend to do has been shown to increase the likelihood of achieving that thing. However, if you really want to get more done, you will have to make sure your lists are living documents.

Make your list visible

There is no point writing a to-do list only to put the paper in your wallet and forget about it for the rest of the day. Your list has to be as visible as possible so you can make reference to it throughout the day. You should have a single to-do list. Multiple lists just make it easier for tasks to slip through the cracks. You should always use the same medium for your to-do lists. I prefer a digital list. Most note-taking apps allow you to create to-do lists. Pick the one that works for you. If you’d rather have a paper list, you should get a notebook. Pieces of paper get lost quite easily.

To-do list
Keep it where you can see it


When was the last time you reviewed your personal development plan? I make it a habit to review mine each Friday morning. Choosing a fixed time of the week to review your plans makes it easier to stick to. It also ensures I get a chance to decide if a goal is still relevant and cross off milestones as I reach them. I also review my daily to-dos at the end of each day. Tasks that couldn’t get done, get moved to the next day. This ensures my lists are relevant and up-to date.

Review document
It’s meant to be a living document

Measure progress

How many important tasks did you get done this week? Are you still on track to achieve your quarterly goals? Did you hit your savings target for the month? If you don’t measure progress, you won’t know if the milestone chosen is relevant. Perhaps you set too lofty a target and might need to extend the timeline you have set for a goal so you can achieve it at a more realistic pace.

Planned vs Actual

To recap, keep your list in a place where you can easily access it, create time in your schedule for regular reviews and measure how close you are to achieving your goal.

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