Tag Archive: things to do

To-Do List and Pocket WatchThe list of things to do is so long that it can be difficult getting to the things that really matter. You know what it’s like to have a long list and have more things that need to be added before you can cross off the tasks you already have. Things get jammed up because you’re not organized, don’t know how to manage it all and if you’ve got productivity challenges or habits that don’t support you, it makes it even harder. To the point that you give a lot of time to putting out fires and not getting to what matters most.

Add the velocity of life and it’s even more challenging. Usually, people spend time working on things that are important and urgent because time isn’t given to planning, taking advantage of opportunities, and the all-important, highly avoided recreation and relaxation.

It’s time to dissect, clean up and fine tune your to-do list! Start by looking at everything you have on your plate and the things you would like to place on your plate. Make sure to include the things you’ve been walking around with in your head.

Once you’ve got everything listed, mark each item as something that either has to be done right now or something that doesn’t have to be done right now. As you do, keep in mind that you’re tearing apart your list here. The end goal is to only end up having things that are important left on your list, so this means letting go of all the things that don’t fall under that category.

Next, go back through the list and label each task either important or not important. Be very careful here, this is where things can get a bit tricky. Let go of the notion that everything is important, because it’s not. If something’s not related to your big picture, it’s irrelevant. It might be hard to do what I’m going to tell you to do now, but it’s necessary. Draw a line through everything that you’ve designated to be unimportant. Again, remember that you’re cleaning things up. Once you do, you’re only left with the things that matter.

Now that you have a list of only the important things left, you can see which have to be done right now and the ones that don’t because of the labels you gave them earlier. This is your new, fine-tuned to-do list and these are the things that should get your time. Focus on the things that have to be done right now first, then move to the things that aren’t a “right now” thing.

Moving forward, continue to focus on only the things that are important. Create new habits that have you planning and not waiting until the last minute so you have less fires to put out and things aren’t done in haste. You’ll have to face the daily temptation that will come from the things that aren’t relevant, but stay the course! Celebrate your wins, whether they’re big or small and make time for yourself. Continue to constantly and deliberately choose and remember that your focus is to drop the things that aren’t directly in line with the big picture you’re creating.


To-DoList-RedHaving a to-do list to help manage the many things on your agenda is a key factor in the game.  If you’re using one effectively on a regular basis, you’re someone who’s committed to productivity.  If you don’t have a to-do list, chances are that you are stuck in the overwhelm conversation from the amount of things you have to do and you may be forgetting important things.

So the question I have for you is, what are you doing? More importantly, who is it that you’re being when it comes to taking on daily tasks and reaching their associated goals? Taking things step by step is what gets you the results you’re looking for. But what people miss is taking a look at who it is they’re being in every moment to support the things that need to be done to get to Point B.

Let’s look at things from the practical side first. If you’re in the overwhelm conversation because there’s so much to do and you’re forgetting things, take a moment to think about what having and effectively using a to-do list will do for you. Some of the advantages are:

  • All of your tasks are in one place and prioritized
  • Being able to clearly see what needs to be done
  • Prioritizing keeping you on track
  • You are organized, and more efficient
  • Not being stressed by unimportant tasks
  • Your complete, prioritized to-do list drives your time management system

Without a solid to-do list you lack focus and you’re not as efficient or reliable to those around you.  If you have a to-do list, is it doing these things for you?  If not, chances are that it’s not up to date, contains old, unfinished items and you don’t update it on a regular basis as part of a time management system.

Now let’s look a bit deeper, beneath the surface. It’s important to have the practical systematic pieces in place to support you, but you also have to consider what’s going on at the core of the matter. This calls for looking at not what you’re doing, but at who it is you’re being. At times you get caught up in the to-dos and struggle to get things done because you haven’t considered who it is you need to be to take on the things on your agenda. It’s typical when you’re up to something much bigger and working on the things that stretch you. You’re reaching for something that’s outside of where you are now, but attempting to do so while being the same way that you’ve been to get to the point that you’re at right now.

As you look to the new things that are on your plate, take a step back and look at who it is you have to step into being to accomplish each one of them and make a list associated with each goal. Keep it handy right along with the goals you create to remind you each day of who you have to be so that you can accomplish the things that you set out to do. Look at the practical side of things and what has to be done to whip things into shape, setting up what you need to support you, but also take that deeper look within to help you extend your reach and have it exceed your grasp.


Have you ever tried to keep everything in your head instead of writing it down?  If simply doesn’t work.  Not to say that you can’t remember a lot of things, but keeping it all in your head will kill your productivity for sure.

You can end up forgetting something important, being distracted and focused on trying to remember something instead of focused on the task at hand, not to mention the feelings of anxiety it can bring.

To get those items off of your mind, utilize your time management tool.  If you have a PDA or Smart Phone, enter that item in the memo pad feature and then at the end of the day move the notes from the memo pad to your task list or place it in your calendar if it’s going to take longer than 15 minutes to do.

If you use a paper system, jot it down on your task list or a pad of paper and move it to your task list at the end of the day or the next morning when you do your planning.

You can also use a voice recorder if you so, or a service like Jott that will transcribe your voice messages to yourslef into emails or text messages and send them to you, but what ever you do, make sure you make the notes in one place, not a number of different places.  That will kill your productivity too.  Get your to-do list out of your head and into your time management system.

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