How often do you find yourself saying some version of
“I have 1,000 things to do!”?
Here’s my recommendation: Even if you feel it’s ‘just an expression’, I want you to stop saying it (and thinking it, too!). Besides the fact that it’s NOT accurate, there are at least a couple other reasons to eliminate it.
First and foremost, there is a part of your brain that actually factors it into your decision making process and sets you up for overwhelm-on-autopilot:
1. You chronically overbook in a misguided effort to get it all done (and then beat yourself up for not having ‘follow through’)
2. You chronically avoid some useful actions (exercise and meal planning, marketing follow up, finance review, to name a few)
3. You have looked up the definition of ADD several times, but haven’t gotten around to being tested!
What if I told you the REAL number is closer to 50 or 60?
When people think about their to do lists (estimates range from 100 to 1,000,000), they are usually referring to the undone / overdue / pressing or urgent category of things, not make the bed, do the dishes, brush my teeth kinds of to do’s. The urgent gets amplified in your mind.
In my work with hundreds of private clients and students in my business organization programs, the average number that people calculate using my approach – the number of items that are actually focus-eating and distraction-causing – is about 55 things. (Find out about the current program The Schedule Bootcamp here!)
Maybe even that number seems like too much,
and it can be, if you make this common scheduling mistake:
IF you approach it as All Or Nothing, you are screwed
All or nothing – AKA, if I can’t do everything, I won’t do anything – is JET FUEL for procrastination. And that strategy is only one of the culprits that sabotages productivity.
A few tips to trim the fat and be a lean, mean to-do list machine!
1. Compartmentalize – make your lists by categories of life: well being, financial, business, etc. this will allow focus on the specific ‘realm’ of actions and help your brain prioritize
2. Set the priority levels – select what you will work on this week and don’t change it (see #4 below)
3. Synchronize with your calendar – if you create a baseline of ‘placeholders’ for those categories of life AND allow for some tweaks and buffers, your success will increase immediately
4. Understand ‘what kind of’ to do it is – here’s where it gets a little tricky:
- Some of those 50 or 60 tasks have been lingering even though they would take less than 2 minutes to complete – so what are you actually avoiding?
- Some of those tasks are really Projects, and those require a whole different set of rules to accomplish – in terms of mindset AND execution.
- And, some of them are items that should be regular and recurring – do you have weekly routines to make that easier to do? (Find out how to make this happen with the Schedule Bootcamp here!)
By the way, you are probably already getting a lot done.
Question: is it a symphony or cacophony?
If you are honest, the answer is likely the cacophony mode – a lot of instruments tuning up, playing riffs and making noise – and very little coordination, repeatable success or sense of achievement.
But guess what? It’s not really your fault.
There is no ‘school of organization’ out there just waiting to train you in the best practices of time and task management …or wait, is there?
If there was a program that could help you consistently take the right steps and catch up with your projects and commitments, upgrade your follow through skills and generally be less stressed …
You’d want to know about it, right?
Well, yes. This is a shameless sales pitch because YOU NEED THIS.
I have been working with busy professionals for almost 20 years - to help them streamline their business AND life. I know that time management - staying ahead of the game instead of behind the 8 ball - tops the wish list for most.
Which is why I designed this private coaching series to not only help you organize the most important actions, but to master the practices of weekly planning. Yes, Virginia - its a skill (not just a talent) that can be cultivated.