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4 Lists That Cement Your Future

Hannah P. Morgan

There are those that love creating lists and those that don't. If you fall into the second camp, consider lists another way of setting adaptable goals and maximizing your potential. As with any list, revisiting and revising it based on your current situation is not only prudent, but vital. Priorities change and your list should be a current reflection of what to do, whom to keep in touch with, trends to watch and what is important to you now and in the future.

Top 100 friends. We all need a little help from our friends once in awhile. But there's nothing more uncomfortable than thinking, "I haven't talked to John/Jane in more than five years. I can't call and ask this question." Step one is creating your top 100 list of people you should keep in touch with. Step two is setting time aside regularly to keep the connection alive. An obvious choice to make this happen is LinkedIn. The reality is you will need advice, information or help from your past colleagues in the future. When you follow both steps, it enables you to stay connected and gain access to the resources you will need.

Top 50 companies to watch. Create a list of 50 companies you will monitor. These companies can be competitors or in new industries all together. The only criteria for adding a company to your list is that it seems interesting. Set up alerts and watch its news feeds for updates that allow you to stay up on trends and keep an eye out for potential opportunities, either business partnerships or job openings or both.

Top 10 books to read. Personal and professional develop falls on your shoulders. One of the more cost-effective ways to continue to learn, develop new ideas and improve your value is by reading. Build a list of 10 books you should read and remember to add to the list as you check books off. You can ask mentors for their recommendation, search the New York Times best-seller list or let Amazon recommend your next great read based on your past selections.

Top 5 daily priorities. The mother of all lists is your daily to-do list. Remember, it has to be realistic and achievable, otherwise, you'll never get through it and it will transfer into a new day. Unforeseen emergencies are the most common reason for not completing task items. Set a reasonable time frame and know that your chances of completing your to-do item are greatest if you set a deadline date sooner rather than later. Most importantly, when you prioritize your top five items and actually get them done, there is a feeling of accomplishment. Did you know you are most productive at 10:26 a.m., according to a LondonOffices.com study? Plan your activities accordingly.

Productivity Pointers

Never confuse activity with accomplishment. Checking items off your list doesn't mean you are actually accomplishing anything. Stay focused on how these items will benefit you in the short- and long-term. To help add value to your list-building efforts, keep these top productivity tips, adapted from Forbes, in mind:

--Get more done by adding more hours to your week. Wake up an hour earlier.

--Maximize your time at work and use Sunday evening for planning the week.

--Learn how to say no. Focus first on what you need to achieve and stick to your guns.

--Work in 30-minute intervals focusing on one activity, then take a one-minute break to refocus.

Hannah Morgan is a speaker and author providing no-nonsense career advice; she guides job seekers and helps them navigate today's treacherous job search terrain.

Hannah shares information about the latest trends, such as reputation management, social networking strategies, and other effective search techniques on her blog, Career Sherpa.

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