A successful baby boomer’s life of lists and leadership

Sir Richard Branson is a baby boomer we can all admire. He has created everything from Virgin Records to Virgin Atlantic to Virgin Galactic. He is one of the world’s most successful and likable corporate leaders. So, we hope our boomer brother Sir Richard doesn’t mind if we share his short essay, “New Year’s Resolutions and making lists.” We figure, if it’s good enough for him … it’s good enough for us!

Ever since I was a young boy I have made lists of goals and resolutions. It’s how I make sense of the ideas in my head, the suggestions I receive, and the progress we are making. What’s more, if I didn’t write down all of my ideas and resolutions, I might forget them!

Sir Richard Branson making notes, writing lists.

Sir Richard Branson making notes, writing lists.

Here are 10 simple steps for making a list that you will be able to stick to:

  1. Write down every single idea you have. No idea is too small, and no idea is too big either.
  2. Always carry a notebook. You need somewhere to write your ideas down, and while using a folder on your phone is better than nothing, a piece of paper is far more memorable.
  3. Find a list method that works for you. Doodles, bullet-points, charts what suits you best?  I find a combination of short phrases and scribbled pictures works best for me.
  4. Make a list of small, manageable tasks to complete every day. Cut your day up into chunks, and you’ll get lots more done.
  5. Mark off every completed task. There are few more satisfying things than ticking off a job well done.
  6. Make your goals measurable so you know if your plans are working. There’s no point setting targets if you don’t know if you are hitting them.
  7. Set far off, outlandish goals. Resolutions shouldn’t just have short-term endpoints. What do you want to have achieved in five years’ time? How about 50 years?
  8. Include personal goals in your lists, not just business. There’s no real separation between work and life, it’s all just living. The same goes for lists.
  9. Share your goals with others. You can help motivate each other further and hold each other to account. But remember that, in the end, you are doing this for yourself.
  10. Celebrate your successes then make new lists of new goals. The cycle should continue as you make more and more progress. I have boxes and boxes of old notes, filled with old lists, and I’m busy making more.
Richard Branson (photo by John Armstrong)

Sir Richard Branson
(photo by John Armstrong)

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