The Power of a List By Sandra Martini


It’s amazing how when things get super busy and we try to speed up, Murphy’s Law or nature in general takes over with things to slow us down – whether we get sick, overwhelmed, or just mess things up in general.

From my days of simultaneously launching the AmeriCorps program and handling Presidential event logistics, I learned a valuable lesson:

When everything starts to speed up and spin out of control, stop.  Stop, assess and create a list.

Sounds oddly simple and yet exceedingly frustrating all at the same time.  Most people react with, “Are you crazy? I can’t slow down let alone stop to create a list” – often with several expletives woven in.

I promise however that if you do stop and create a list, you’ll finish much quicker and with more of your mind intact.

The first list I create is a massive “brain dump”.  I just write everything that pops into my head for 10-15 minutes – and please use a timer as it takes that long for your brain to truly empty itself.  Think of this as “clearing your mental desk”.

Then, I pull things out, prioritize and, if several of the items relate to each other (upcoming travel, holiday, event, teleseminar, etc.), I create a checklist of them and fill it in further as I go along.

The power of a list/checklist:

  • Create it once and it’s done (sounds a lot like a system)
  • You can delegate things on the list to others (with the list, DH knew exactly how to best help me prepare without either of us losing our mind)
  • There’s no worry about what you’re forgetting – simply check things off as they’re done (my sister and I use this approach for holiday dinner shopping)
  • Teleseminar/Webinar/Webcast/Live Event – having a checklist for each will make things much easier for you, and your team.  We have a 72-point launch checklist for each product and the overall E3 Summit checklist is much longer – that said, I know we’ve got things covered and feel totally comfortable delegating. ;-)
  • Create one for commonly-bought groceries with checkboxes and stick on fridge, so anyone going to store can grab the list and go, knowing you’re getting everything that’s needed (we have for groceries and Staples Office Supplies)

The goal of course is to minimize what you have to remember while making it easy for you to delegate to your team, your partner, your kids, anyone.

I have a specific list for business travel which includes everything from business cards (yep, I forgot them once), to power cords to blank follow-up cards and stamps to a specific number of small dollar bills for tipping shuttles, cabs, etc.



When you find yourself doing/wondering something more than once, it’s time for a list.  Whether you use it for yourself, your clients or your team – the goal is to maximize speed of implementation while minimizing frustration and overwhelm for all involved.

Taking 10 minutes now to create that list and, dare I say it. . .system, will save you hours of frustration and, where a team is involved, hundreds or thousands of dollars in the future.

So what are you waiting for?

If you liked this article, you’ll want to hop on over to for more comprehensive business building and marketing strategies, articles and resources. Sandra Martini, a Small Business Mentor, founder of Escalator Marketing™ and creator of the Escalator Profits Program™, teaches small business owners and entrepreneurs how to build sustainable businesses without losing their integrity or their minds.