How to Shrink Your To-Do List and Achieve More
This week, I want to share with you a little strategy to help reduce overwhelm, keep you focused and get more done, more of the important things done in less time.
As the CEO of a growth business, are you finding that your to-do list is constantly contracting or expanding? Probably expanding. That’s what I find with most business owners. There’s more and more to do.
So I want to share with you a three-part strategy on how to reduce the amount that you have to do your business while still growing.
So the number one thing we want to do is to differentiate between the to-do items and the to-achieve items that we want to get accomplished.
A to-do item is something that’s return an email, call somebody, file something, right? Just the stuff that happens all day. And we have to recognize something about the to-do items. They’re just constantly going to come at us. If you are caught up completely at the end of the day today, to inbox 0, no voicemails to return, by five after eight, tomorrow morning, there’s going to be more stuff for you to do.
So the to-do stuff we have to recognize, it’s never going away. It’s constantly going to be coming at us. It’s a beast we need to tame.
So versus our to-achieve items – the to-achieve items are the strategic initiatives, the important things that are going to move our business forward that are going to help us grow and have a more effective, efficient organization.
Now, the challenge is the to-do items seem to carry a bit of urgency with them, whereas to-achieve items don’t, right? They’re important, but not urgent, right?
But the, to-do items are often urgent, but not that important, but we have the sense we’ve got to get them done. And what I hear people say as well, I just want to get these few things out of the way off my desk. And then I’ll work on my important stuff. And that’s just called “trying to squeeze it in.” It doesn’t really work.
So we want to make sure that we do differentiate between our to-dos and our to-achieves.
And part two of the strategy, is to allocate time each week to work on those to-achieve items.
Now you might only have a half an hour a week to get started, and that’s enough or maybe an hour a morning, something like that, or a half a day, whenever, whatever time you can allocate towards the strategic things, you want to go ahead and do that, and make sure you’ve got a plan for what you’re going to do during that time. Know exactly what strategic item, what to-achieve item you’re going to be working on.
And also recognize all the to-dos are going to be piling up while you’re working on your to-achieve stuff. And that’s okay. That’s what they do. They pile up.
But when you’re working on your to-achieve items, you’re improving the business bit by bit. The to-do items, not so much.
So part three of the strategy is you want to get yourself a little post-it note and write the following question on it:
“Why am I doing this?” Okay? “why am I…” – underline the I – “why am I doing this?”
And put that on your computer so that whenever you’re working on something, you can ask yourself:
- “Why am I doing this?”
- “Should I be the one answering this question?”
- “Should I be the one doing this filing?”
- “Should I be the one writing this up?”
- “Should I be the one creating this thing whatever it might be?”
And that goes for your to-do’s, but also for your to-achieve items also.
So when you ask yourself that question, you get that situational awareness to find out where your time is really going.
And are you feeling like you’re putting most of your time on the important strategic to-achieve items, or are you getting pulled into the to-do maelstrom?
That question is going to help you get that awareness of where your time’s going.
So a simple strategy:
- differentiate between the to-dos, (the urgent and the important), the to-achieves, allocate time in your schedule for those to-achieve items, and ask yourself this question: “Why am I doing this?” throughout the day so that you can get that awareness of things that you’re actually focusing on, so you can shift and focus on the more important things.
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