Although we cannot control what life throws at us, we can learn the best ways to manage it with the right tools. That’s why episode 69 of The Positively Living Podcast is about tackling your to-do list!
In this episode of The Positively Living Podcast, I’m sharing the importance of managing your life by using to-do lists in a productive and healthy way and actionable steps you can take right now to become more efficient so you can live more and achieve more.
I cover the following topics:
- How a to-do list that is seemingly helpful can easily become cluttered and actually create more stress.
- Deleting the items from your to-do list that you do not intend to do that are acting as a distraction from the more important tasks.
- Delegating items on your list that others can do by asking “how can this get done” instead of “how am I going to get this done?”
- Delaying tasks that are important but are meant for another time.
- Tackling your tasks head-on now that you’ve narrowed it down to the important items you should be focusing on in the present moment.
Step 1) Delete it
Declutter First!! Do not organize what you do not intend to keep. Do not list what you don’t intend to do. Think about it. You have something on a list that never gets done. What a waste of energy right? It cues guilt and frustration and it distracts you from what you need to get done. You have good intentions but be realistic and ruthless.
Ask yourself: Does it apply? Fit my Mission? Still make sense? Excite me? When you are Strategic Planning you are creating the filter for what belongs and why. Use this to ensure your ToDo list is supporting your plan. You can reference Episode 2 Declutter your Life with the SIMPLE™ System as a guide to reviewing your list. The decluttering system I have created works for any kind of clutter.
Step 2) Delegate it
Now that you have cleared off the stuff that doesn’t belong, take a fresh look. This is another review where you’re questioning things. Go task by task and say, “How can it get done?” Notice I didn’t say “how can *I* do it”? I said passively, how can it get done. Putting yourself in that passive mindset is effective because it lets your brain get creative. It’s not deleting from the list in that it doesn’t need to be done, but rather that you don’t necessarily have to do it…I’m talking to you, people pleasers. Mommas, this is especially important.
Also, keep in mind delegating isn’t only hiring people. Some can do it for free, cough, cough kids, or bartering may be an option. Automation is an effective way to delegate things. There’re so many creative ways that you can delegate a task and so many types of tasks that can be delegated. Be sure to check out Episode 18 Declutter through Delegation with Liz August
Step 3) Delay It
This one is especially important for my fellow multi-passionate people. But it’s also good for the anxious ones who feel like everything has to be done. Now, that’s actually not a productive way to approach things. Not everything needs to be done, nor do so many things need to be done right now. There are many reasons, many benefits to delaying tasks. And I think it’s comforting for all those ideas and passions you are juggling. If there’s something you really want to keep on your list…it’s calling to you, but maybe it’s a “not right now”.
Your current to-do list and calendar are prime real estate for your life. Someday projects clutter up the current ones. Strategic planning per quarter is a great example. You have things you must focus on this quarter, so you have to push the remaining items to another quarter. It’s not off your list, but it’s not your current focus. There are easy ways to keep track of that, such as including it in a planning sheet for another time or setting the idea in your calendar to review at a later date.
Step 4) Do it
Now it’s time for you to take action! This is what you think of when you think of a to-do list and now that you’ve deleted, delegated, and delayed, what’s left is what makes sense for you to do. Your task might also be to delegate or to handle a task. From here, take what you have to do and PRIORITIZE. Now is the time to choose what to tackle in what order.
Think about David Allen’s 2-minute rule — anything you can do quickly, do it immediately. More checked off the list, more movement and motivation. You’ll feel more energized as you reduce the list even further. Then look at the 80/20 Principle (book: Koch) or The One Thing (Keller) – what will be the big Domino? If it’s a big task, split it up and schedule it
Having a list that reflects what really needs to be done gives you clarity and boosts your confidence and focus. Tackle your to-do list the right way and you can’t help but be more profitable and productive in your business and everyday life.
Thank you for listening! Be sure to tune in to all the episodes to receive tons of practical tips to create space for what really matters in your life.
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Music by Ian and Jeff Zawrotny