In an earlier post, I mentioned that I write down action items every day to help me achieve my goals. One thing that I recently realized is that when possible, it’s better to list results instead of tasks.

I remember a few years back when I was looking for a job, one of my daily tasks was “send out 10 resumes.” Looking back, I now realize that I would have reached my goal quicker had my daily objective been “make contact with at least one recruiter or hiring manager.” After all, it took me less than an hour to go through the various job posting web sites, identify 10 or more positions, modify my resume & cover letter and hit the submit button. To actually connect with someone, it would have taken me almost all day.

Since my primary goal was to get a job – not getting my resume in everyone’s trash can within 100 miles of my house – what do you think would have been a better goal for the day? Since I would connect with someone for every 50 or so resumes I sent out, I would have reached my primary goal five times as fast had my daily goal been a result instead of a task.

If you are doing the 20 Things exercise, try to make at least one fifth of the items you list each day results instead of tasks. Try this for a few days and then gradually increase it until all the items you list are results.

Tasks vs. Results

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