I know it’s a radical idea, the death of your to-do list so bear with me while I explain. Think about it, a long to-do list is a giant energy drain and waste of time. Have you ever noticed how the list keeps growing instead of disappearing?
Imagine waking up every morning feeling confident that you have enough time to accomplish the goals you have set for the day. Picture yourself wrapping things up at the end of the day knowing that you have not wasted your time or energy and that the actions you completed are supporting you in creating a profitable business.
Intrigued? The great news is that it is simple to kill your to-do list. Here’s how.
First, take a long hard look at your massive to-do list and put a number one next to the actions that are high priority (I know, I hear you shouting they are all high priority, trust me they aren’t). Go through the list again and rank the medium priority actions with a number two and low priority actions with a number three.
Now, get out your calendar and take each high priority action and place it into your schedule. Choose a date that it will be completed as well as a realistic block of time for completion (start and finish time). Continue doing this with the medium priority actions and finish with the low priority actions.
This will work for you no matter what kind of calendar you use. Choose a system that works for you. The concept of integrating your actions into your planning is much more important than the type of calendar you use.
New opportunities do come up and you can update and adjust your planning as needed. The difference is that now the things you have planned are already prioritized so if something new comes up, you will be able to consider its importance in relation to existing priorities. This is much more effective than simply adding another action to the bottom of a list.
Also, make sure you schedule in some free time each day for unplanned things that come up. If you can’t find a place for some of the low priority actions don’t worry, I have a solution for you below (see benefit number three).
Let me confess something, I know to-do lists don’t work because I am a former owner of a long to-do list (that never got done). Since I killed my to-do list and consciously thought about what I really want to get done, I am much more productive and feel confident about the direction of my business.
Benefits for you:
1. Doing this forces you to reconsider what you are doing with your time and this allows you to get clear about what your real priorities are.
2. You will have a realistic picture of what you can really accomplish in a certain time period (each day, week, month, etc.).
3. There will probably be some things that won’t fit into your schedule and this gives you a chance to consider dropping them or delegating them. I like to call this your “to-don’t” list. If you are a solopreneur and don’t have employees who can pick up the slack, you can always outsource.
4. You will reduce overwhelm and stress because you will no longer be confronted daily with a giant list of things you know you won’t get done that day. This way you will get more accomplished, stay on track, and remain focused.
5. You will feel great about the actions you plan to take each day because you know they are aligned with your long term goals and that doing them will move you forward toward reaching them.
Anyone who is serious about building a sustainable and profitable business needs to be sure they are spending their time and energy on the right things. Are you are beginning to see that a long to-do list that isn’t prioritized with actions that aren’t connected to a actual dates for completion isn’t efficient?
It can be scary to integrate your to-do list into your calendar and I promise, it is worth it. What do you have to lose? Try it and if it doesn’t work you can always go back to the never-ending list of things that never get done. Stop living in denial about what you can realistically get done and choose to plan and execute profitable actions that will grow your business!