We have talked many times before about how we have too many things on our list. The ToDo List that is so overwhelming that it is more paralyzing than constructive. This isn’t a post to bash ToDo Lists, as they can be incredibly helpful. This is more of a discussion of what is on your ToDo List, what can be removed, and how they can help you reach your goals. One easy thing to start with is the things that would be nice to get done, but don’t have to get done.
Wouldn’t That Be Nice???
Too often we have this idea of perfection in our head and think to ourselves, “Wouldn’t that be nice to get done?” “Being nice” to get done and “having to get done” are two different things. If something is just “nice” to get done, I challenge why it is even on your ToDo List. I am willing to bet that you have so many things on your list that “NEED to get done” that the “nice to get done” should be taken off. Look down your list. If you see any items that would be “nice to get done,” then scratch them off.
On to the next challenge…
Is It Really Necessary???
There is a quote I like to apply to any task on my list. And that is, “If it’s not necessary to change, then it is necessary not to change.” Why go looking for things to get done that are already done? Maybe they are not perfect, but nothing is perfect. As a matter of fact, remove the word “perfect” from your vocabulary when reviewing your ToDo List. Forget about perfection and aim only for things that HAVE TO or NEED TO change.
Now that we have addressed these, we can’t overlook the very common, most inefficient and ineffective tasks of all…
Are The Tasks Actually Yours???
Do you have tasks on your list that are not really yours??? You may laugh at first, but look at your list. Is there anything on there that you were asked to do or volunteered to do that really won’t advance your life at all? Maybe a favor you said you would do, or something you couldn’t say “No” to? Scrutinize the list. Find the things that aren’t really yours and get them off your list. Tell the person responsible for that task being on your list that you don’t have the time for it and start to turn your ToDo List into a Success List…
Your Success List!!!
In the book, The One Thing, author Gary Keller talks about turning your ToDo List into a Success List. A Success List is a list of the items you should get done, not the ones you could get done. Too many times people work on the wrong things. The things that they can easily get done, just to check off the list, but when completed, don’t really make a big difference.
Gary Keller suggests using the Pareto Principle (The 80/20 Principle) and whittle your ToDo List down to the 20% of things that would make the biggest difference in your life. Once you do this, you have transformed your ToDo List into a Success List.
ToDo Lists can be very powerful when you don’t want to loose track of something that truly needs to get done, but can be overwhelming when there are too many things on the list. It’s important to have a place to capture all the things you HAVE to do. But when that ToDo List becomes a catch all, the list gets too long, becomes overwhelming, and ends up not being used. How many times have you started a new way to get things done, a new list of some kind, that you ended up abandoning? If you are like most people, probably quite a few. Make your ToDo List a true list of things that you NEED to get done by reducing the list to what will move you forward in life.
Turn your ToDo List into a Success List by using Pareto’s Principle and whittle the list down to the most important things. Once you do that, use the 5and2Guy way and turn your SHOULDS into a MUST. Make your Success List a list of things that MUST get done in order to move you forward. If you can look at anything on this final list that doesn’t fall into the Must Get Done category, remove it and re-evaluate. This may seem like a lot of work to get to the things you MUST get done, but I assure you that it will be time well spent. You can become much more efficient if you plan properly and focus on the right things. As Peter Drucker said,
“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”