You know that to-do list that’s holding your life together by a thread?
What if I told you that that list is the very thing keeping you stressed out, overwhelmed and stuck?
Stay with me, friends! Over the years I’ve come to recognise the familiar look of terror on my clients’ faces when I tell them to throw away their much-loved to do lists.
“But Vari! My life will fall apart at the seams! This precious little piece of paper is the one thing that’s keeping me sane!?”
As a life coach to busy, entrepreneurial women I get it.
There’s a delicious satisfaction in getting all those tasks out of your brain and on to the paper.
And we all love the instant gratification as we tick those tasks off, one by one. (Who starts with ‘Write a to do list’ at the top of the page just so you can tick it off?!? ?)
But the problem of the daily to-do list is that it’s never-ending.
Think about it. How often do you get to the end of the day and take the 4 or 5 tasks you’ve not completed and add them to tomorrow’s list, only to do the same the next day and the next and the next?
Here are 3 super quick hacks to turning your ‘To-Do List’ into a ‘It’s-Done List’:
- Get it on the calendar.
As Marie Forleo says, “If it’s not scheduled, it’s not real.” I want you to empty your brain of all the tasks you need to take care of that week on the paper. (I teach a whole process on this called The Sunday Session) Then, take each of these tasks and put them on the calendar.
Assigning a specific spot in your week for a particular task means that your brain can let it go and stop obsessing over it. When we do this, our brains are exceptionally more focused and we can move through our days using our energy much more efficiently and with a satisfying sense of clarity.
- Make them result based.
When you’re adding your to-do’s to your calendar, you want to make sure they are specific and result-based.
For example, if you are looking to hire a coach, don’t simply add ‘Research potential life coaches’. Because we know how that goes! It’s all too easy to get sucked into the black hole of research and not actually generate any results.
Reframing this task as ‘Identify 3 potential life coaches and send them an email’ is much more effective. There is action involved. We actually have to do something. When we set action-taking, result-based tasks we create momentum.
3. Set a time frame
“But I don’t know how long it will take me?” I hear this all the time from clients. Especially when it’s something they don’t have any experience with.
Wanna know how long something will take? However long you give it!
When I worked in the newspaper industry as a graphic designer, if my editor told me I had all day to create a layout, it would take me all day. I’d chit-chat with my colleagues, go get (another) coffee, search around online for some inspiration…
But, if he came to me and said, “Vari, this has to be done and on the press in 37 minutes!”, do you know how long it would take me?
Yep, you guessed it, probably 35 minutes!
Here’s the thing.
We’re more focused when we have less time.
We’re not reading emails, checking social media, or rearranging the office furniture. We’re dialled in and immersed in the task at hand.
So give yourself a time frame for each task on your calendar. Then commit to getting it completed in that time.
The magical thing about structuring your weeks like this is that it has you showing up and taking action on a consistent basis.
As Robin Sharma says, “Your days are your life in miniature. As you live your hours, so you create your years. As you live your days, so you craft your life. What you do today is actually creating your future.”
So tell me, how will you spend your most valuable resource – which is your time – this week to move you closer to the life you dream of?
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