The most successful people cultivate certain habits which they practice on a daily basis. These habits can take the form of simple goals. For example, Benjamin Franklin sought to “do good each day.” So which habits do millionaires tend to adopt? One of my favorite, something I do everyday, has contributed greatly to my own success. That’s the habit of making a to-do list before the day begins.
Here are 3 steps for making your daily to-do list:
1. Plan your day the night before. Every minute spent planning saves 10 minutes in execution. Sit down with a piece of paper and write down everything you need to do tomorrow. If you miss your opportunity to make your list the night before, do it first thing in the morning. When you make a list, you have a track to run on the following day. Making a list clarifies your goals and forces you to think at a higher level. If you start your day with a list, you can increase your output 25 percent. One of the habits of millionaires is that they plan out their day ahead of time.
2. Prioritize your list. Work from the 80/20 rule. If you have 10 items on your list of things to do, two are likely to be more important than all the others put together. Ask yourself the question “If I were to be called out of town for a month, which are the tasks I would most need to accomplish before leaving?” Identifying the most important tasks brings us to the third habit of millionaires.
3. Do the most important task first. Begin immediately on your most important task. Focus on this task and only this task until completion. Your success depends on your ability to complete projects, so make it habit to see your projects through to the end.
If you can adopt these three habits—planning your day the night before, organizing your tasks in order of importance and completing your most important task first—you will dramatically increase your productivity.
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Brian Tracy is the CEO of Brian Tracy International, which specializes in business training, and the author of the best-selling Psychology of Achievement. For more information, go to www.briantracy.com.