How hard you fight on this issue will determine how successful you will be in life. Some people who read that line will chuckle to themselves and move on. Some people will not chuckle but will still move on. Then there will be a small group who read that line and will take it to heart and over time, will make it their mantra and they will be successful. A To-Do List Is Not A Wish List straddles both Time Management and increasing Productivity thought processes. You create your To-Do List while you are creating your Priorities and Time Activating them in your Day Planner. You then basically hand them over to your Production team, which could very well be yourself, to be physically done. Either way, your To-Do List is the heart and soul of what will comprise each and every day of your professional life and, most likely, your personal life as well.

I’m a firm believer that at some point, you have to draw a line in the sand and say this is what I want to accomplish and this is what I’m going to do. Very simple to say, not quite as easy to do. Let’s break it down.

Why is a To-Do List so important?

It defines what you want to accomplish on a daily basis. It gives you a focus, a direction and gives you an agenda to work with throughout the entire day. Without those 3 principles at play, you will be at the mercy of every single distraction known to man. The end result will be another day where you worked hard, maybe even really hard, but failed to accomplish any of the things that you wanted and needed to do. That is the lament of everyone who tries to get through a day without a plan, without a direction and without a To-Do List.

A To-Do List gives you a structure that will help you drive your agenda instead of being at the mercy of every ones else’s. Among the many reasons a To-Do List is critically important to your success are these two.

1. Helps you get WHAT you want accomplished, accomplished.

Nothing could sound so simple but yet have such a powerful impact on your life. If you asked 1,000 people, as I have, why they are dissatisfied with the results they are achieving, the number one reason is that they do not accomplish what they want at the end of each day. The reason they give for not achieving what they want is almost invariably that they did not have enough time. This is a reason I hope we all know is invalid. They had plenty of time available to them; they just choose to do other things in those time slots then what they wanted to accomplish. The reason for this strange behavior? One of them was a lack of a To-Do List.

2. Helps you get what you want accomplished, WHEN you want to accomplish it.

What and when are important, very important. Time Management, if you allow it, will give you the tools, to sort out what you want to accomplish and will also give you the tools to be sure you have the "when" set up properly as well. It’s not enough to say that I want to write up a report for a customer but then not have a date and time to actually do the report. This missing step is a cornerstone of the Power Time System, as well as the Power Productivity Maximizer, Time Activating your Priorities into your day Planner. Time Activating means setting aside a specific time in your day when that particular task will be done.

Where does the wish list part of this chapter come into play? Now. Remember when I said that sometimes you have to draw a line in the sand and take a stand? This is that time to take a stand. You have to take a stand when you do up your TO-DO LIST and treat it as if it is etched in stone. If something makes it onto your TO-DO LIST, then it gets done, period. No ifs, ands, or buts. If it makes the list, it gets done. You need this discipline to help you get in the habit of creating a TO-DO LIST, picking the Priorities, Time Activating them into your Day Planner and then actually doing them. The last part is clearly the Productivity Maximization part, but still part and parcel of the whole Time Management process.

Success breeds more success. Making your TO-DO LIST not a wish list but a statement of fact that allows you, at the end of a busy day, to feel good because not only did you work hard, but you accomplished what was on your agenda, not someone else’s. This fact will start to become more and more apparent to you that he who accomplishes their agenda is the one who ends up on the happy end of the stick.

Author's Bio: 

Bryan Beckstead is the creator and developer of the Power Empowerment Group and has been involved in the Time Management and Productivity industries for almost 35 years. His aggressive, in-your-face approach has earned him a reputation as someone who will give you the facts without the usual sugar coating. If you are really serious about improving your quality of life, visit him at

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