April 2006

Dedicated to providing information for learning assistance professionals.

Dennis Congos

List Your Way To Success

By Dennis Congos, University of Central Florida

List Your Way To Success

Researchers who study the characteristics of successful people have found that well developed and applied organization skills are common characteristics. Successful people keep track of what needs to be done on the way to success. If you choose to be successful, use one of the following techniques for listing your way to success.

This type of list entails writing down what you need to do day by day. For example, you may use a notecard for recording your "to do's, then check off each item as you complete it. This allows you to see your progress and feel a sense of accomplishment each day.

This type of list involves recording what needs to be done in order of importance. The most important or "first due" item is listed at the top and down to the lesser important items.

Another version of a priority list includes what must be done today, what must be done by date, and what is coming up with due dates. These tasks could also be listed in order of importance or by deadline.

This third type of list uses time to indicate when tasks need to be completed. This list can be kept on notebook paper but is done best using a calendar book available at campus bookstores and office supply stores.

Here, assignments are recorded just as you would tasks on a real job after college. You may prefer to record assignments and due dates for a whole week instead of one day at a time.

One of the most effective, easy to use, and most popular methods of tracking and completing college tasks involves the use of a weekly calendar book. These are available at most college bookstores and offices supply stores. When open, a whole week is displayed before you. This way it is easier to see what is coming up a day or more ahead.

Below is an example of a weekly calendar book.

Below is an example of one college student's calendar book filled in properly.

Myths About Time Management

  1. Time schedules restrict you. Ridiculous! How can something restrict you that you control 100%?

  2. I can't do what I need to do if I schedule everything. Absurd! You decide what to include in your schedules and lists. A schedule contains only what you put there. It is a tool for keeping track of what you need to do instead of leaving important tasks to memory, mood, or chance. Schedules are tools that increase chances for success.

  3. I don't like to schedule my life. Silly! You can choose to schedule your life every minute of every day intentionally or by chance. Which way will help you reach your goals quicker? A list only helps you keep better track of what needs to be done, helps you get it done, and moves you toward your goals much faster.

Questions or comments? Contact the author at dcongos@mail.ucf.edu.

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