Attacking Goals: Make Lists to Punch Out

by Jacob Abshire on January 29, 2015

It’s time to get violent with your goals!

You’ve come a long way with your goal setting, chunking, and planning. When the battle began, you took the first step and leaned into it. You made points to review and efforts to ask. Now, you need to create your punch list.

A punch list is exactly what it sounds like–a list to punch. Think of it as your boxing opponent taunting your each day. You want to punch and punch until you knock it completely out.

The list will contain your current chunks and goals to punch out. I recommend a monthly or weekly punch list. Anything more would take too much of your time to make. Anything less would make your list too long.

I recommend making your punch list on paper so you can print it out and stick it to your wall or refrigerator door. I don’t think it’s helpful to make your punch list electronically, but it’s your choice. I fear mobile apps will rob you of the real accountability and gratification when you mark off a task with a pen or marker.

I make mine in Google Docs and print it out to hang on the wall in my office, right where I face when sitting at the desk. It’s like it and I are going toe-to-toe.

Here are five guides for you to consider when making your punch list.

Your Punch List Needs to Be Concise

The more pithy your chunks, the better. You don’t want long descriptions written out on your sheet taking up space. They are simply short line items for you to mark off. In fact, they should only be one line. For example, “Write twenty articles” is a great item for a punch list.

Your Punch List Needs to Be Accessible

Nothing is more important than the accessibility of your punch list. Do not, I repeat, do not print out your punch list and slide it into a drawer. It needs to be front and center. You need to see it often. It’s your personal reminder of small goals to complete. Make sure it’s accessible.

Your Punch List Needs to Be Writeable

In addition to being accessible, you need to make sure you can write on it. You will be writing one of two things on it. First, when you complete a task, you want to draw a line through it. Second, when you have ideas that you need to review later, you want to write those notes outside the task.

Your Punch List Needs to Be Easy

Remember that your punch list is a tool to help foster encouragement and keep you focused, not rob you of your time. You can make your punch list interesting, since it will be displayed in public sight. But don’t spend all your valuable time on it. Remember, you’ll be making more punch lists as you go.

Your Punch List Needs to Be Trashable

Look, this goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyways: make sure your punch list is made out of something you can trash or erase. Don’t paint it on your wall because you’ll need to mark off chunks. On the other hand, if you’re into painting a lot, maybe that’s not a bad idea.

Next time, we’ll look at attacking your goals by making time to celebrate your achievements. Yeah, it’s the fun part.

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