You sit down at your desk, grab a sheet of paper and a pen, and fill the page with all the important things you need to get done today. Within minutes, your head is pounding and your heart is racing at the monster of a list you now have before you. You begin to feel overwhelmed before your day has even begun. You wonder how in the world you’ll get everything done by sundown. Sound familiar?
Every day there are hundreds of thousands of people facing this same task list monster. In an effort to become more time savvy and get more things done in 24 hours, they actually end up sabotaging their own efforts. Don’t succumb to the evil, purple-eyed To Do list monster. You can get things done, but you might need to change your approach.
3 Tips For Avoiding The To Do List Monster
Pare down your list. This is the most important thing you can do. What are the three to five most important things you need to do today? Write those down. If you don’t think you can only write three, start with a list of ten things, then cross off the least important ones until you’re down to three to five items. (This doesn’t mean those other items are unimportant; it just means the three left standing are the most crucial ones.)
Set time limits. The area where many people fall short is setting deadlines for their to do list. If you don’t have time constraints, you’ll end up floundering all day, despite having a more manageable to do list. Using a timer is an even better way to give yourself an impending crunch time deadline.
Encourage yourself. Just because you’ve culled your to do list to about three items, that doesn’t mean those three items will take very little time to complete. Some may take a few hours, up to more than a day or two, to complete. In such instances, you must become your own cheerleader. Keep yourself accountable until the job is done, but more importantly, stay focused on the end result. You’ll be happier and proud of yourself once you finish every task on your list.
*Bonus Tip: If you finish your list in record time before the day is up, add 2-3 more items to it. Your smaller to do list should be used as a jumping point for getting more done when possible. Beware of the other to do list monster, who tells you that once you’re finished with this list, you can go goof off the rest of the day.