Go to a winery in Italy, write a book, own a fabulous apartment, hold a koala…these are all things on my “life list.” You know, the things you want to do before you die — some people call it a bucket list.
I think having goals is essential to living a happy life…that way you always have something to look forward to and work towards. My love of lists of all kinds lead me to MyLifeList.org, where you can record all of your life dreams and wishes. It’s a social media site for goal-oriented people. Soon there will be a magazine called “Achiever” to go along with it.
I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know the CEO Bill Starr and COO Shelagh Braley — they are seriously fabulous people and so motivated to make people’s lives more enriched. Shelagh is this month’s featured list producer: smart, successful and a list nerd!
Q: Why do you call yourself a compulsive list producer?
A: My company, My Life List, is totally based on lists for success in creating your major life experiences. How do you achieve any goals without making a list and a definitive plan? My Life List is based on the concept that if you write down your dreams and engage others to support you, they become achievable goals.
You can’t create a deep vision for your life without a well-conceived list, and you can’t generate the focus and momentum to bring that list to life without checking in and staying on track on a regular basis. Our members make lists about everything: their dream travel trips, their fitness goals, how to improve their relationships, how to stabilize their finances, where they want to go in their careers. There is a depth to life listing (or bucket listing) that really resonates with me. I can’t make any progress at all without a list.
Q: What do you make lists about?
A: My lists are mostly operational, what stories need to be assigned for Achiever magazine, what meetings I can’t miss. I am a big time box-checker! I also keep mobile lists of what I need to concoct my favorite recipes so I don’t blank in the grocery store, a running list of offhand items loved ones mention they want so I can surprise them on special occasions, songs I hear in passing that I want to download later, activities I want to do by season so I have an answer when we’re all bored, hilarious things my daughter says so I can journal about them later and quote her accurately—basically anything I can’t keep in my head without recording somehow.
Q: How often do you make lists?
A: I literally make three lists a day, for work priorities, my personal to-do items and family stuff that has to be done. I would never be able to fit it all in or balance what I’m doing in my life without them. I also check in on my life list goals every day, just to update my network on my fitness goal progress or to read others’ new goals and success stories for inspiration in my own day. Sometimes reading a list can be as motivating as writing a list!
Q: What type of list do you make the most?
A: Work priorities, definitely. Building a social network tied to a publishing house is a major undertaking, so I’m constantly shuffling meetings and scheduling time to accomplish what has to get done, hitting deadlines. But in close second are the items my daughter needs for school, books I want to read and, of course, my profile on My Life List organizes all the exotic places I want to visit, the adrenaline experiences I am planning, the really cool stuff.
Q: How do you make lists? (Handwritten/email/etc)
A: My prized possession, my security blanket is a huge daily planner that has a whole page of open space for each week. It holds my schedule, my lists, my get-moving-on-this-now alerts. It’s a bit old school, but I’m a visual person and I go with what works. I also like to look ahead pretty far to plan what comes next, whether it’s a company venture or a travel adventure. This doesn’t keep me from using my BlackBerry to keep running lists, all those lists I will need to access from anywhere, like shopping lists and such. Finally, MyLifeList.org is where I go to be inspired by other members’ lists and add to my own life list the major life experiences I want to have.
Q: How have you found lists help you succeed?
A: I am super type A (no, really), and I’m aware of this more now than ever. The social networking space moves quickly, and there are so many competing interests in my life – I need a plan right at the start of every day to make the most of what time I have. It’s the only way I can do what needs to get done and still have time to focus on what matters—spending undistracted time with my family and having fun!
Being organized through lists creates a level of preparedness and productivity that frees up my mind. Because my lists form the framework of my schedule, I don’t stumble blindly through my tasks. I am able to be present in the moment, and have the brain space left over to be creative and innovative both at work and at home.
Q: Specifically what was the last thing you wrote a list about?
A: My most important list, the one I continually update and never really finish, focuses on all the ways MyLifeList.org can help people achieve their major life goals. Our initiatives introduce people to new, amazing experiences that will pull them out of their comfort zones and help them share their experiences with others who want to achieve the same goals. We are building a community of mentors whose life lists will change lives. At the top of my list is to include as many motivated, big-living people as possible in this community. What’s on your life list?
Shelagh Braley is co-founder of GoalsCorp Media and chief operating officer of www.mylifelist.org, the premiere social network for goal achievers. My Life List uses the power of social networking and list making to help its network focus on what matters in life. She’s also a working mom who wants to hand down the gifts of organization and amazing life experiences to her daughter—so she’s learning how to make lists, too.