If you’re anything like me you’ve probably spent the last few years writing tasks on fleeting pieces of paper or the odd post-it-note, which are now stuck to the bottom of someone else’s shoe.
In the wake of my holiday-induced binge, 2019 started with two vows. The first, to finally get around to watching every episode of Seinfeld. And the second, to start an effective to-do list – something I’ve been putting off for longer than the pile of laundry sitting in the corner of my room.
As far as lists go, you can’t get more classic than the time-honored to-do list: an inescapable, age-old productivity tool. But whether it’s an overwhelming amount of tasks – little or large or both, a lack of motivation or just a tendency to get distracted – I’m looking at you, Pinterest – we’ve all got a hole in our productivity armor somewhere. Soon we become so overwhelmed and the result … you end up doing nothing. Sound familiar? Thought so.
Needing something tangible to hold me accountable (and give me a whole lot more peace of mind), I started planning how this one tiny piece of paper could pack a whole lot more punch this year.
Buckle up, folks.
Here’s a fun fact for you. On average, we have anywhere between 60,000 and 80,000 thoughts per day. So, you can imagine why that super bright idea you had at 6.23am while washing your hair has now completely disappeared into thin air. This is where a brain-dump comes into play. Just get ev-ery-thing you want to accomplish onto one massive list. I tend to start a new one each week to align with my new goals. Anything that wasn’t ticked off from the week before gets added to this new list and we start all over again. It’s also a good way of acknowledging what you have managed to achieve.
Now you’ve got all those fleeting thoughts out of your system, it’s time to start prioritising. There are a few different ways you can figure these out. You might have a deadline to meet, therefore that task is an obvious choice for number one contender. Sometimes I just simply include a task that will make me feel the most accomplished, because, well, a little self-induced morale boost never goes astray.
So, you’ve gotten all those to-dos out of your head and onto paper, you’ve marked your top three tasks with your bright yellow highlighter – now it’s time to get your francais on. Eat the frog for breakfast, and the rest of your day will follow on nicely behind it. Or in other words, once you’ve knocked off that first monstrosity of a duty, you’ll feel large, in charge and empowered to tackle the next lot.
Do you have a project that feels way to chunky? I’m the first to put my hand up and admit when a job feels too big to even conquer I simply push it to the side and think ‘I’ll deal with that later’. Well folks, let me tell you – later rarely comes. Tackle it head on by breaking it down into smaller less meaty tasks that will allow you to slowly work through until you meet your end goal. Plus, you’ll feel a whole lot better ticking off those smaller items as you progress through.
There’s no point writing down a zillion goals when you don’t actually have the capacity to complete even a single one to your full abilities. Ensure you are breaking down your time effectively. Each 15-minute interval is basically 1% of your day. Obviously, we aren’t expecting you to be working twenty-fo-seven but this concept is a super efficient way to evaluate the time you’ve allocated to projects. How about trying 4 or 5 90 min power sessions with no distractions but a break between each? All of a sudden a 9-5 workday becomes a delicious five slice pie to consume!
This simple trick ensures you don’t use your emails as your to-do list. Which is always a painful idea and usually only deals with the little things cluttering your inbox. Getting your top priorities down the night before allows you to start fresh and strong the next morning, knowing exactly how to strike with your best foot forward.
Go get ‘em tiger!
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