Making a List – Checking it Twice

December 17, 2010 at 8:30 pm 2 comments


‘Tis the season…. to cross holiday themes with blog posts about IT!  Well, I can’t help it really as I’m enjoying Christmas classics with my family while working on this post.  But it is the time of year when my thoughts turn to the value of a list.  The paper industry must love all of the piles of list we have at the end of the year.  Christmas card lists, lists of gifts for loved ones, lists of events we hope to attend if the weather cooperates, and I could go on & on.

But what about at work – what lists are good to keep around?  Here are a few suggestions.  I hope one of them inspires you to grab a piece of paper & pen and jot down a few thoughts.

If you keep a list or two handy through the year – what is it?  What value does it bring to you?  Share with us by posting a comment!

  1. A list of feedback – don’t wait until HR comes knocking on your door for performance reviews, take some time to keep a running list of accomplishments and constructive feedback for your employees.  I keep two folders  for each team member.  One on my PC and one in my filing cabinet.  When an email comes across my desk that is praising something a team member has done, I store it in the email folder I created for them.  When I see an email that compels me to offer them some constructive feedback, those get printed out & brought to a 1:1.  I keep those print-outs in their paper file along with a few notes about the guidance I offered them.  I keep the same files for myself – helps when I’m having a review with my boss or if I’m applying for a new position.  I keep a few other tidbits in that folder – that’s a good topic for another post.  Back to the subject of lists….
  2. To Do List – I’m an avid note taker.  I go through notebooks like crazy and mostly because I love To Do lists.  Nothing makes me happier than to accomplish something & dramatically scratch it off my list.  Whether you keep this list on your Blackberry, Outlook Tasks, or a note pad, it’s always good to keep a list – written down.  I know some folks are amazing at keeping their To Do’s straight in their head but that seems a bit risky to me.  After all, when “it” hits the fan at work and I get distracted, having my handy To Do list nearby helps me to re-focus on what’s important.  I start each morning with my To Do list.  I scrutinize what goes on my list – is it Tactical or Strategic?  Can it be delegated to a team member?  Do I need input from someone to finish a task – if so, do they have clear expectations as to what I need and do I have a target date for getting it?  Might seem like a lot of thought but it really does go quickly.  And it’s 15 minutes well spent as it gets my head in the game for a full day (and a few hours of night) at work.  It also helps me make sure that the things I’m doing through the day are value-add and aligned to my objectives – if not, they don’t make it on the list.
  3. Folks I’d like to work with – I believe in a greater plan but I also believe in taking initiative.  I keep a list of people who I’ve met that I would like to work with some day.  I think through this list from time to time to see if there is a project that I’m starting that they might compliment.
  4. My Objectives in Life – I don’t believe in making separate lists for personal & professional objectives.  In reality, we all only have 24 hours in a day – it’s got to be my choice on how I spend it so I should prioritize my individual objectives – whether personal or professional – against each other.  Whether the objective is about the relationship I want to have with my children, the career goal that I have to own my own company one day or to learn to speak another language, it all takes time (sometimes money) and it’s good to have them written down in one place.
  5. IT Roadmap – as an Application Development Manager, I’m responsible for not only keeping our applications up & running but for having a roadmap (fancy word for a list) that tells what enhancements are needed to support changing business needs or reductions in expense and/or risk.  I keep the list simple – if something doesn’t align to business needs, reducing expenses or reducing risk – it doesn’t make the list.  Each item is classified as a 1, 3, or 5 year objective.  It takes a village so this is a list that I build with my team members, share with other teams in my organization, walk-through with my business clients – and this stays in front of us year round with an emphasis right before budget season.
  6. The things that I’m thankful for – the most important list!  Even though this list may seem personal – it’s a good one to keep around for motivation.  Mine includes – my husband who supports me in everything that I do and is my creative muse, our children who are happy & healthy and bring joy 365 days per year (24×7 – like their mother, they don’t sleep much), my friends who are like family to me, my mother who taught me common sense (took a while but I did learn) and a strong work ethic, the talented people who I have had the opportunity to work with and learn from, my passion for helping people find solutions to their problems.

Regardless of how many lists you have this year, I hope you all have a list of things that bring you joy through the holiday season!  With warm wishes for you all through the holidays – and hope that Santa brings extra notepads for list-making this year!

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Entry filed under: Business Governance, Career Development, Employee Development, Leadership, Management. Tags: , , , .

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