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Make Your To-Do List into a Success List

“Long hours spent checking off a to-do list and ending the day with a full trash can and a clean desk are not virtuous and have nothing to do with success. Instead of a to-do list, you need a success list—a list that is purposefully created around extraordinary results.

To-do lists tend to be long; success lists are short. One pulls you in all directions; the other aims you in a specific direction. One is a disorganized directory and the other is an organized directive. If a list isn’t built around success, then that’s not where it takes you. If your to-do list contains everything, then it’s probably taking you everywhere but where you really want to go.”

~ Gary Keller, excerpt from The One Thing

To-do lists vs. success lists.

Which do you have?

Are you trying to do *everything*? If so, Gary tells us you might want to slow down and remind yourself of Vilfredo Pareto’s wisdom.

You remember Pareto, right? The wonderful 19th century Italian economist who discovered that wealth wasn’t distributed equally. In fact, he found that back in the day 20% of the people in Italy owned 80% of the wealth.

As author Richard Koch tells us in his great book The 80/20 Principle: “The 80/20 Principle asserts that a minority of causes, inputs, or effort usually lead to a majority of results, outputs or rewards.”

In other words, some of your efforts are MUCH more valuable than others. We need to separate the “vital few” from the “trivial many.”

That brings us back to your to-do list.

Is it packed with EVERYTHING you “need” to get done? Or is it focused on the vital few things that will help you SUCCEED?

Let’s change that to-do list into a success list!


Dr. Joanne