A new twist on the to-do list can help you do good while getting real work done. Michael Parrish DuDell, business guru and author of Shark Tank Jump Start Your Business, keeps an agenda of people to do favors for rather than a specific list of his own tasks. According to DuDell, keeping what amounts to a list of ways to be generous has helped him get outside his own work, and open new avenues of insight for himself and others.
"When you're doing something that is essentially a lonely sport, it's really easy to get stuck in this whirlwind of 'you, you, you' and 'self, self, self,'" he explained. "You get stuck on this place when you're hitting a wall."
Having a do-to list for other people also helps circumvent the dreaded task of networking. Scientific studies have found that purposefully networking, i.e. using personal relationships to sell yourself, creates a negative physical reaction in the person you are talking to even if they expect you to be "networking" with them. So helping people out is a natural way to network.
In her Big Think interview, business executive and Pulitzer Prize winner Sheryl WuDunn says that generosity is an objectively good behavior, but that it's also important to decide who you are going to help. She explains that some people and some organizations are better to help than others:
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