Task List: A Simple Time Management Tool

Leadership Impact

Many years ago, I worked with a leader who taught me many valuable lessons. So many. One day I will write an entire post about him.  Heck, it’s probably going to have to be a series because of everything I learned from him. One of the things he did was to carry a folded piece of paper that had his tasks on it, as well as reminders about what his role was. Over the years, he helped show me what my role was as a young and growing leader in the largest company on the planet. He taught me to use a task list like the one he used.

This is a snippet of a task list that I carry with me.  It’s designed to be folded and carried in a shirt pocket, but since leaving my corporate jobs, I don’t wear shirts with pockets most days. These days it folds nicely to fit inside my notebook. 

How to Make Your Task List

Yes, I still write notes the old fashioned way.  It actually helps me remember things instead of typing notes out.  Don’t get me wrong, I take full advantage of most of the digital resources I have, but there is something about taking notes with a pen and paper.  But, back to the point.  You see, on my task list are two sections that have not changed much over the past 20 years.  The reason for this is that I believe they are still as applicable running my own company as they were when I worked for the largest company on the planet.

These two sections are;

My Role:

  • See the “BIG” picture
  • Assign roles/tasks to accomplish the “BIG” picture
  • Look ahead to design the vision and involve everyone
  • Look ahead to plan structure and resources to support my people in getting things done
  • Execute to make the vision a reality
  • Pushing anyone else in the way to execute
  • React to, and handle the service and Associate issues as they arise


  • Service to the customer
  • New capabilities to the core
  • Take care of, and develop Associates
  • Control/Eliminate expenses
  • Shareholder value
  • Balance them all

task list image 2

These sections or in the upper left-hand corner of my task list and they are shaded so it catches my attention. I need these reminders on what my role is sometimes because I have a tendency to get wrapped up in other things. It’s easy to do when you are building a business and you are used to being the one that did everything. I need to see that my role is evolving and that the talented and capable people I am surrounded by are there because I trust them to get things done.  They need to trust me to get my things done as well.  

I don’t know that any of this will help any of you, but I wanted to share just a little insight into something that helps me get things done. What are the tools that you use to keep focused and organized?

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