Learn to Overachieve

A few things that I have learned in my 7 decades of life is:

  • Underachievers seldom become financially successful
  • Life is a 24-hour a day job
  • He who gets the most done in that 24 hours wins
  • That all successful people work off of a To Do List

Look around you for the people you feel are the most successful. Are they loafers, or are they always busy being productive?

I think that you will find that they are far busier than your average person. They have so much going on, that there’s no way anyone can remember it all without help. Without that help you will miss deadlines, which will cause you having to do more work, and at an inconvenient time.

I have worked off a To Do List ever since I separated from Active Duty in 1975. I quickly became a manager in my civilian life and had to not only be responsible for my duties — but for the duties of others. In the 70s, I kept track of all of that on Legal Pads. The very late 70s I was in sales and carried around one of those mini binders with my calendar, contacts, and to do list. By the early 80s I was in the computer industry and there was a program that replaced that black book, called Sidekick. I was one of the last to move from Sidekick to Outlook in the mid 90s. About five years ago I moved from Outlook to a specialized To Do list in the cloud – with a desktop and a phone app. Sadly I picked the wrong one as they disappeared about three years ago as did my data. I then started using Microsoft’s ToDo. It too is in the Cloud and has both desktop and phone apps.

The beauty of Microsoft’s ToDo (besides being free) is that when I set up a task I can:

  • Put it in one of an unlimited number of categories I create – so I can focus on just the tasks in that category
  • I can set a due date
  • I can make it reoccurring (IE:Pay Amex every 10th or Inspection on my truck every October)
  • I can set up reminders in SMS text, email or both
  • I can set it up to where it also appears in “Most Important” (So I focus on just that group)
  • I can set it up to also be in “My Day” (so I know what to place into my calendar to be done that day)
  • I can drag and drop tasks from one category to another. For instance, I have a category called Shit Be Done that I move my completed tasks into)
  • I can change the sort order in any category to date entered, alphabetical, or due date — and set that to ascending or descending.

The second I think of a task needing to get done – I enter it using my iPhone. It can be a simple as order dog food to as complicated as pull engine and transmission out of the Thug. It doesn’t matter where I’m at. I can be mowing the lawn, driving my car, having my wife assign me another honey do, or working in the shop realizing I need a tool or a car part – I add it right there and then.

In the evenings, I watch the news, an Astros game, a Star’s game, Drag Racing or and old movie in my easy chair. However, I’m a very restless person, which I realized when I retired and bought a Bass Boat that I seldom used. I just can’t sit and rest — I have to be doing something. I have a Surface Pro Computer and have it on my lap as I’m watching the boob tube. I’ll often be posting on social media – but more often I’m in my “Phone calls and Order”, “Financial”, “Computer task” categories – maybe scheduling a service I need, investigating something on the Interweb, buying parts and supplies, paying bills (I do my accounting on computer), making stock market trades or any other small task requiring the computer or telephone. You may note in the above graphic that I have over 9,000 completed tasks in the Shit Be Done Category (about three years’ worth) — and I still have a couple of hundred to be moved in there. Some are small — but many are big. If I can’t sleep — I don’t waste that time — I go to my To Do List to see what I can cross off.

My point is that if you truly want to become more productive and achieve far more — use a To Do List and don’t waste your time being idle.

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