December 2015 Newsletter – The Most Powerful Tool Known to Mankind

The Most Powerful Tool Known to Mankind

Picture this – you have a looming deadline on a task or deliverable and you don’t know where to start or you have barely begun the work to accomplish it.

In school it may have been a book report you put off to the last minute. At home it could be a re-modeling project or big holiday meal. At work it could be a new initiative or even starting a new business.

You feel overwhelmed and dismayed at the challenge that presents itself. You don’t want to think about it because it is too daunting and intimidating. But conversely, you can’t stop thinking about it and letting it worry and trouble you and emotionally gnaw at your mind.

We all have been there – many times. And unfortunately we most likely we will face this situation many times in the future.

As we enter 2016 you may have many goals for the New Year. But how can you make these a reality in 2016?

The Second Most Powerful Tool Known to Mankind

I would like to introduce the Second Most Powerful Tool Known to Mankind – The List.Small Business Planning in Atlanta, Georgia

Countless studies have shown the most productive people are list makers and list doers.

But why is this true? There are three basic reasons.

First, according to research, the majority of people are visual learners and even if a person’s primary learning style is not visual, getting something down on paper allows us to organize our thoughts.

Second, creating a list enables us to break a larger task down to a series of smaller doable steps. According to research by psychologist George Miller, because of how the human mind works we are able to understand and tackle tasks or projects that have been broken down into their meaningful components. Once this is done it’s relatively easy for us to piece the components together and develop the game plan to achieve the overall objective.

Third, once we have created a list (either on paper or electronic media) the Zeigarnik Effect comes into play.

The Zeigarnik Effect is the tendency to experience intrusive thoughts about an objective that was once pursued and left incomplete. The unfinished task signals the conscious mind, that a previous activity was left incomplete. It seems to be human nature for us to want to finish what we start and if it is not finished, we experience dissonance.

According to a study by Greist-Bousquet and Schiffman there is a tendency or “need” to complete a task once it has been initiated and bring closure to that unfinished task.

How to Create an Effective List

Small Business Planning in AtlantaSo how do you create an effective list? It involves a mini-brainstorming session where you write down every task or thought that comes to mind related to your goal. Then you take the list and group related items together, combine duplicated items and remove unnecessary items. You can do this by yourself or in a team. Additionally, you can ask someone to review your list to see if you have missed something. The final step is the most enjoyable piece, crossing an item off your list once it is completed.

Having started 9 companies in my life, many times I felt overwhelmed with various goals in front of me. But I am a habitual list maker and I celebrate crossing items off of my lists and I have found that creating lists has been a tremendously beneficial tool in my life.

The Most Powerful Tool Known to Mankind – A Prioritized List

But what is the Most Powerful Tool Known to Mankind? It is a Prioritized List – which is basically taking your initial list and putting it in a logical sequence.

A prioritized list gives you a basic game plan for accomplishing the task. Prioritizing your initial list into the first, second, third… thing that needs to be done enables you to see and understand your prerequisites and dependencies – so that you can figure out a logical, step-by-step strategy for accomplish the objective.

Once the list has been created, for it to be effective you need to periodically review it. Ideally, this should be done daily so that you can align your activities for that day with your overall objectives. Using this approach activates the above Zeigarnik Effect.

I Don’t Have Time to Make a List

But you may say “I don’t have time to make a list”. Then you may end up getting trapped in a situation where you are Small Business Planning in Atlanta, Georgiaproceeding on a task in a helter-skelter fashion – causing emotional anxiety. This leads to not using your time and resources most effectively and efficiently.

Conversely, don’t let the lists be your lord and ruler – but instead a useful tool to channel your efforts and resources.

As an Innovation and Business Optimization firm we use some pretty sophisticated tools, but we always have in our back pocket the incredibly powerful tool of list making.

So the next time you are faced with a daunting task or project, take a step back and do a mini-brainstorming session about it and create a to-do list for the project. Next, prioritize it. As you work the list in order you will find the entire project will go much easier.

If you need assistance with accomplishing your business and innovation goals for the New Year, please contact us so we can show you how to take your business where you want it to go.

Fountainhead Consulting Group, Inc. is an Innovation and Business Optimization firm. During the past 17 years we have shown over 1,200 companies how to achieve the goals for their business by using our unique, comprehensive and systematic business planning and growth methodology, the Structure of Success™ so they can Work Less, Make More and most importantly Have Fun in Their Business. Using our Structure of Success™ methodology each month we examine one of 12 areas of a business or organization.

Office phone: (770) 642-4220

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