I bet you have at least one to-do list. Maybe you have so many to-do lists that you now have a stack. If you are feeling unproductive and overwhelmed with all of your tasks, it’s time for a makeover. You aren’t getting tasks marked off your list because you are working harder than you have to. Does that sound crazy? If so, let me walk you through it.
When you realize that you are spinning your wheels and not getting anything accomplished you will stack stuck. When you are stuck, your frustration increases, which further impacts your ability to accomplish the task. You need to change your current process and adopt a new one. When you are ready to sail through your list of “things to do” follow these five steps.
Step 1: Combine all of your to-do lists onto one page
In the past, I would have a stack of to-do lists, which seemed to grow by the day. I would spend time re-writing them and moving items around. Then I realized that I wasn’t productive because I was accomplishing anything. When I realized how unproductive I was, I began to combine all of my lists onto one page.
Take all of your lists and combine them into one. You can split it into two columns if needed. For example, one list may have a column labeled work/career the other for home/personal. Mark off task when you accomplish them and at the end of the week rewrite the list with what is left to do. The goal is to keep the list on one page. If you have multiple pages, then you need to stop making lists and get to work completing your task.
Step 2: Delegate, ask for help or eliminate
Look back at your list and decide if there is any task you can remove. Ask yourself how important the task is? If you have to keep it on the list, then ask yourself these three questions:
Don’t skip these questions because avoiding them is why your to-do list has turned into a monster.
Step 3: Prioritize 5 task
I know your list is very long but don’t be intimidated by it. Now you will need to prioritize the most critical five task. If you have two columns, pick five in each.
If you think that every task is just as important as the next, then look back at the goals you set for the year. When you review your goals it will remind you which top five to pick. Once you complete the top five, mark them off the list and choose the next five. If a task isn’t in your top five, do not spend time on it. Focus your energy on completing the designated ones only.
Step 4: Allow more time than needed to tackle a task
I struggled in the past with not scheduling enough time to work on a task which left many incomplete. I now schedule more time than I think I need so that I can move from start to completion.
Don’t short change yourself, allow extra time and you will remove the excuse not complete the task. You will also realize that when you are focused on the specific task, you can finish them. Don’t stop the task until you have completed it.
Step 5: Rinse and Repeat
Now that you have worked through your top five priority task you are ready to repeat the process. Go back to Step 1 since you may have added additional task then work your way again to step 5.
You have done what seems impossible, which is to get a few things crossed off your list. I know you are feeling more productive about your forward movement. Keep it up and knock out your list. You’ve got this!