Almost everyone has a 'To Do' list. It might be written in an expensive planner, on a sticky note, in a smart phone app or on a napkin. For some, it's just in their head. But no matter where it is, the To Do list is the endless stream of tasks around which we build our days because they absolutelty have to get done.
Or do they?
The problem with the 'To Do' list is that there is no value assigned and no reflection involved about whether or not completing this task is time well spent. 'Clean out the car' gets equal billing with 'Schedule a physical'. In my opinion, 'To Do' lists cause unnecessary stress and keep us from feeling accomplished. They keep us busy – too busy – but not productive.
In my coaching practice, I teach clients how to become goal oriented as opposed to task oriented. This is how true fulfillment and accomplishment are achieved. But short of this, here are 5 'To Do' List Improvements that will point you in the right direction to making sure the important things get completed and reducing some of the stress in your day.
1. Create a new To Do list for each day. Be mindful of things that can or should be done at some other time. I recommend doing this before going to bed.
2. Delegate. Can someone else do this? (Let go, you control freaks! You know who you are!....)
3. Prioritze as follows: A=Must Be Done Today / B=Should Be Done Soon / C=Would be nice, but... Tasks in each category should then be numbered in order of importance.
4. Organize beforehand. Put the dry cleaning in the car. Confirm the time and place for the meeting. Pull phone numbers for client calls.
5. Chunk like tasks together. Highlight or use asteriks to group 'calls to be made' or 'errands'.
My clients & I swear by this. The times when I find myself saying "I'm so busy!", I stop and realize I've strayed from my daily planning and I re-group and re-focus. It works wonders! Try implementing this for one week and you'll be amazed what a difference it will make.
(If you'd like more tips on productivity, please include in comments below.)