If you want to be a high-level performer, then it is extremely helpful to create structures to follow each day. Understanding the steps you need to take, and how much time you require to accomplish tasks, will unlock the power of your productivity.

Why are to-do lists necessary to achieve goals in the modern world?

No matter what you’re attempting to accomplish, life is busy and it does not slow down. 

If you want to make sure that you can achieve everything you want to accomplish, then a list is one of the best assets you can have.

Today’s many successful, high-performing leaders use to-do lists to take care of tasks and to achieve their goals. What you can learn from their experiences is priceless.

Here is what you can learn from their efforts to find success.

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Richard Branson, Billionaire Founder of the Virgin Group, and Creating Lists for Productivity

Sir Richard Branson founded the Virgin Group in the 1970s. He would come to control over 400 companies in various industries. He says that he has always lived his life by making lists.

He works through his lists each day and that helps him move forward with plans. 

His most crucial productivity tip is this: creating a list clarifies what’s worth doing and what isn’t.

Once you have a master list, analyze it and prioritize so that you’re working on things that actually matter. Things that actually move you towards accomplishing your goals. 

Then make sure to celebrate every success before creating the next to-do list you want to accomplish.

Barbara Corcoran, Founder of the Corcoran Group and Shark Tank star, and Structuring Productivity

Barbara Corcoran founded The Corcoran Group, an agency she sold in 2001 for $66 million. She’s part of a celebrity panel on ABC’s Shark Tank where entrepreneurs can pitch their idea to secure investments for their business. 

Her task lists work better when they are broken into different sections. She uses this structure because it helps her stay productive even when there are severe time constraints on her schedule.

Corcoran prioritizes phone calls, typically two or three, first because she doesn’t want to lose sight of their importance. She values her relationships with others and uses calls to foster those relationships.

Additional sections that she uses for her to-do list include reviews and projects.

She separates her project lists into A, B, and C categories. Items in the A list have deadlines. The other groups hold equally important tasks, but fewer time-sensitive issues.

Kevin O’Leary, Entrepreneur and Shark Tank star, and Identifying the Most Important Tasks

Kevin O’Leary sold his education and family entertainment software to Mattel for $4.2 billion. His portfolio of companies includes financial services, publishing, and a wine label. In addition to Shark Tank, he’s appeared on various television shows and contributes regularly to CNBC.  

At the end of each day, he plans the next day by writing down the three most important tasks to accomplish. Those three items, whether work or personal, are the first tasks he works on.

He suggests applying blinders to everything else, including email and phone calls, until those important tasks are done.

This helps him spend his time efficiently and focus on what really matters.

Jim McCann, Founder and CEO of 1-800-Flowers.com, and His To-Do Lists

Jim McCann says that without a task list, it’s too easy to fall into busywork. That makes it more challenging to be productive.

He thanks his mentor for being the one who introduced him to the concept of list-making. He calls this individual the “most organized” and “extremely buttoned-up” person he has ever met.

McCann uses several different lists to stay organized. He notes things down to avoid forgetting them. He considers each item and assigns them to either a “Things I Have to Do Today” list, a general to-do list, a projects list, or a long-term ideas list, which consists of goals for the year. 

He regularly reviews his lists with his team to evaluate the placement of each item.

Shannon Miller, 2X U.S. Olympic gold medalist, and Task List Priorities

Shannon Miller won a total of seven Olympic medals as a member of the United States gymnastics team during the 1992 and 1996 games. She is now an author and a busy entrepreneur.

Her to-do lists were based on the need to set priorities for her life. She tackled the challenge of balancing family time, chores, schoolwork, Olympic training, appearances, and other obligations by outlining a very specific schedule.

She still keeps a schedule that is almost minute-by-minute.

Your task list can be on a calendar. If you choose to accomplish your goals with this tool, then you can set a default time slot of 15 minutes for each task.

That will allow you to spend only as much time as is necessary for each item on your to-do list.

Remember to block out all of the time for the essential things in your life first. Include activities like date night, exercise sessions, and other times for relaxation.

Michelle Obama, Former First Lady, and Her To-Do List Life Hacks

Michelle Obama was more than the First Lady of the United States for eight years. She is also an essential leader in the Obama Foundation.

She is ruthlessly efficient, taking care to organize not just her work life, but her life in a holistic manner. 

She learned that the easiest life hack to apply to her to-do lists and calendars involved proactive communication. When her daughters were in school, Obama would speak to their principals and teachers at least one year in advance.

Protecting time as early as possible makes it easier to say “no” to the things in life that try to disrupt your schedule.

She feels that if you’re not taking care of yourself, then your productivity levels will disappear. You will be no good to anyone.

Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World and star of CNBC’s The Profit, and His Knockout Task List

Marcus Lemonis is a successful businessman who invests in small businesses on the television show The Profit

He makes a list of the five things he wants to accomplish right away in the morning. Once those items are on this knockout task list, then they have to get done without exception.

He physically writes down his tasks on notecards. Each notecard is a promise. The items that make the to-do list might include significant tasks, such as overhauling the supply chain of a company.

He says that one of the best parts of his day is to turn his knockout list items into paper airplanes. By sending thee notecards soaring, he can visually see that his productivity levels have taken flight.

How Will You Use To-Do Lists to Improve Productivity?

Successful leaders use to-do lists to take care of their daily tasks in a variety of ways. When you can adopt this resource to meet your unique needs, then it will help you to stay productive instead of only being busy.

Receiving advice from successful people is only the first step of this equation. You must take the lessons they have already learned to heart and put into practice. 

Learning from their experience is a unique way to take your work to the next level.

Make today the day that your productivity levels start increasing. Spending a few minutes on a task list will help to unlock your full potential.

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