The 5 Step "To Do" List Strategy You've Been Waiting For
Is your "To Do" list incredibly long? (Bet you said, "Yes!") Are you going 100 mph each day to accomplish all your tasks? (Bet you said, "Yes!" again.) Are you depressed at the end of the day because you barely made a dent in your list? (Pretty sure you said, "Yes!" one more time.)
It's frustrating and demoralizing when we realize we didn't accomplish what we wanted to do, or even worse, what we NEEDED to do. Try this "To Do" list strategy for staying focused on what's most important each day:
- First thing in the morning, look at your entire "To Do" list and choose just three items which will be your high priority activities for the day.
Write these on a separate "To Do" list that you're creating just for that day.
- Now add two more items.
These are added because, realistically, it's very hard to put only three activities on your list. But remember, your primary focus is going to be on your top three items.
- Take a hard look at items #1, #2, and #3, and highlight the one which needs to be completed first.
If you're not sure which one is most important, ask yourself, "Which activity, if left undone, will have the biggest negative consequence?"
- Look at your calendar for the day and determine where you can schedule time for your high priority items.
This is very helpful in determining if other meetings or obligations need to be moved to another time or day.
- Be prepared for the interruptions and other demands which will throw you off track.
Most of us are in roles where it's necessary to spend at least part of our day responding to the requests of others. However, when it's time to get focused again on our priorities, it can be hard to get back into the groove of whatever we were previously doing. When this happens, ask yourself, "What is the most important thing I can be doing with my time right now?" The answer is usually the activity which is causing you the most stress, and also the one which will be most satisfying to cross off your list by day's end.
Faun Zarge helps people find solutions for their work-life challenges.
She offers her practical, realistic strategies through a wide variety of highly interactive and engaging seminars. Please feel free to contact Faun directly to discuss how she might help your organization.