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At the end of each workweek, my wife and I typically sit to share the challenges as well as the wins of the week, and we also discuss career goals and plans for the upcoming week. Recently, she made me realize that she does not only have a “To-do list” for each week; she also has a “To-learn list.” I, on the other hand, have a formal to-do list, but I only keep what I plan to learn in my mind.

I have been making a conscious effort to share best practices, so I am writing this short article to encourage everyone to have a “To-do and “To-learn” list. I added another list, “To-improve.” It is imperative for anyone that wants to thrive and advance in their career to find ways to add value to the organization where they work. The “to-do,” “to-learn,” and “to-improve” lists will help you as an individual manage your time properly by increasing your productivity, motivate you to strive for continuous improvement by constantly learning on the job, and help to advance your career. 

Do you want to create your lists? Here are some tips you need to get started:

1.        TO-DO LIST: The purpose of a to-do list is to help you get organized so that you can effectively achieve your priorities. Depending on your job and the scope of your tasks, you can have a daily, weekly, monthly, or even a quarterly to-do list. You must know those things that you need to accomplish every day to move you closer to achieving your overall goals. Your to-do list is a list of all the tasks that you need to work on, and you should arrange the list in order of importance, from the most critical to the least important. By completing the tasks on your to-do list, you are contributing your quota to meeting the business objectives, and you will, therefore, have access to more opportunities as a result. 

2.       TO-LEARN LIST: Career, just like life, in general, is all about learning. For you to continue to grow and advance in your career, there must be some new things you are learning. Your job should provide some healthy dose of mental challenges to you. You should be stretched from time to time in your job so that you will be able to pick up new perspectives and discover new ways of doing things. When you think you know everything about your job, it is likely that you are not utilizing your full potential and you need to challenge yourself to find new ways that you can learn new things. If you ever get to a point in your career when you seem to know everything about your position, then you are ready for the next step that will challenge you a little more. The purpose of the to-learn list is to help you identify areas of your job where you need to acquire new knowledge that will improve your skillset. Of course, learning is not limited to career endeavor, it applies to life in general. You need to identify any areas of your life where you need to learn and follow the same principle.

3.       TO-IMPROVE LIST: The future belongs to creators and thinkers that are ready to challenge the status quo and find new ways to make things better. If you want to make a big splash in your organization, you must also be able to find new ways of doing things. You must not just be comfortable with the old ways; you should bring new ideas to the table on how to make things better, faster, or simpler. For organizations to survive, they must create new opportunities to expand their market share, and at the same time, find ways to retain their existing customers. To do this, the organization must motivate and challenge its employees to come up with new ideas to achieve these objectives. To improve list can help both the employees and the employers achieve these goals. Are you interested in creating your own “To-improve list,” here are some thoughts to guide you:

–          Challenges: To get started, you need to identify the problems you are facing as an organization. Even when there are no challenges, are there more efficient ways to do things that will be better than the existing system?

–          Solutions: You should come up with a list of solutions that can help solve the challenges. It is not useful to talk about problems alone without coming up with some solutions. You must “sell” your solution to your team.

–          Results: Finally, when pitching your ideas, you should clearly articulate what you are changing, and the potential benefits that will come as a result of implementing your solutions. For example, is your company going to win more customers, lower cost, or do things quicker? You need to explain the possible outcomes of implementing your proposed solution.?

Everyone desires to advance and grow in their career. To achieve that growth, you need to equip yourself by knowing what you need to do to contribute and make an impact in your organization. Your “To-do” list helps you to meet the basic requirement of your job. Your “To-learn” list is about you, with it, you can improve your skillset. Your “To-improve” list is about your organization, with it you help your company to remain competitive and win more customers.

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