Tuesday Tip: Make Lists to Make Your Dreams Come True

Tuesday Tip: Make Lists to Make Your Dreams Come True

By Yehudit Garmaise

“Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself,” wrote American author Ralph Waldo Emerson, but neuroscientists would add that if you want to achieve goals, you first need to write them down: in detail.

No matter what your list-making style, people who write down tasks, goals, curiosities, and dreams have edges over those who keep their thoughts floating around in their consciousness without firm plans to actualize them, said Mark Murphy, the CEO of Leadership IQ who wrote about his research into goal-setting on

While some people write down their to-do lists on index cards, pads of paper, others type their lists in a Microsoft Word document, on phone notes, or texts.

Some list-makers always use blue pens, while others use different colored pens or markers, and some people draw pictures to be able to foresee what they want to create.

Sruly M., of Boro Park, who runs a business of his own weeknights and Sundays, in addition to working a full-time job during the work, for instance, manages to squeeze in everything by making daily lists. 

So as not to put off until tomorrow what can be done today, Sruli does not go to sleep until he crosses every single to-do item off his list. 

On Sunday mornings, Sruly clarifies every single thing he has to do that day, including davening, phone calls, thinking, touching up projects that are almost finished, and taking a break with his four children to grab some lunch and go on a short outing.

To ensure that he could speak with his business associates when he reached out, Sruly first texted them to ask them what times worked best for them, and then he “scheduled his time accordingly.”

After finishing up his work late at night, Sruli said, he “couldn’t believe how much he got done in one day.

“I did a lot and spoke to a lot of people, but everything went calmly and easily because of the power of my to-do list,” Sruly said.  “I wasn't overwhelmed, and I worked on every project with all my energy because of my pre-planned schedule. Everyone received my full attention, and I never felt rushed, nor stressed.”

While Sruly’s to-do lists are purely task-oriented, Mrs. Weisberg, who works in Boro Park, doesn’t just write down what she needs to get done each day, but she includes in her lists anything and everything that comes to her mind that she doesn’t want to forget.

In a cheerful yellow notebook, Mrs. Weisberg does not just write down her assignments, due dates, and deadlines, but as her day progresses, she also jots down whatever else pops into her mind that she finds interesting, worth remembering, or developing into a future project.

Books or articles she wants to read, places and people she wants to visit, sudden memories of last night’s dreams, or long-term goals she wants to set, such as saving a certain amount of money or cleaning out her overstuffed front hall closet. 

“Vividly describing your goals in written form is strongly associated with goal success,” Murphy wrote. 

“A goal without a plan is just a wish,” agreed Sruly. “When I hit ‘send’ for that last time of the evening when all of my tasks are complete, I experience crazy satisfaction.” 

photo credit: Flickr

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