Skip the “To-Do” List

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Do you ever feel like you have WAY too much to do? Is your “To-Do” list so long you’ll never get finished? Or are you, like I used to be, using a rotating list where the “C” level tasks get moved to another page, and that list just keeps getting longer and longer?

  Everyone has the same number of hours in a day, so how do some people get SO much done, while others spin their wheels for months, even years at a time?

We all want to get the necessary things done and get on to the things we REALLY want to do. The A,B,C To-Do list way of organizing, can have the opposite result.  

The first downfall of the long list is it prioritizes most things equally. While you may organize your list with “A” level, “B” level and “C” level tasks, the tasks on their respective lists rarely have the same level of importance.

As Gary Keller says in his book The One Thing, “It’s recognizing that not all things matter equally and finding the things that matter most. ”.

So we check things off the list and it makes us feel good, but we still are no further along on the things that could make a genuine difference in our lives.

This gives us a reason to procrastinate. When lots of little things or currently urgent things are marked off, it gives us an excuse to avoid the things that really need doing.

These aren’t necessarily the big physical tasks like remodeling a room or painting the house, although they could be. Usually they are the things that REALLY matter.
Having that important conversation.

Writing the letter (or email) that needs to be written.

Visiting an elderly relative.

Picking up the phone and calling a client.

Talking to a colleague about something that needs to change.

Doing what we need to do to grow our business.

…Add what’s important to you
These things are the truly important things that are easy to let slip away as we mark things off the long list of things that have to be done, all while, what truly matters, gathers dust.
What’s the alternative? I’m a big fan of knowing yourself well enough to know what is the most important, what will have the most impact. Sometimes this takes a little soul searching, and you won’t always get it right, but you’ll be moving towards things that make a difference.
Some other options are a “Not-Do” list where you note the things that waste your time and, simply, don’t do them. Or an “After They’re Done” list, which can turn into a to-do list in reverse if you’re not careful. But, if done right, can also be a record of the big things you’ve accomplished and a source of motivation to do more!

Bottom line – do what works for you so that you can get the things done in life that REALLY matter!

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