This week’s theme continues with today’s topic talk “Conquering the ‘To-Do’ List.” Over break, I read an excellent article in The Wall Street Journal (click here) that was a perfect fit for a New Years Resolution Themed week.
Think about it – if we are going to put our Big Rocks first and then fit all the pebbles, sand, and water around the Big Rocks, then we need to sit down and decide was is “mission critical” and was is not. So the first step is to segment all your tasks. The funny thing is, as mentioned in the article, some 23% of list-makers spend more time making the lists than doing the tasks on them. The second step is to not let the list get out of control. Most people write EVERYTHING down in some 5 or 6-page document and then cannot deal with a list that is too long and unorganized.
Here’s my suggestion: (1) your “to-do” list should be electronic so you do not have to keep re-writing it when the list needs to be updated. I use the free app that came with my iPhone because it free and the phone is always with me. A MS Word document would also work, as it’s very easy to edit. (2) Perhaps most important, it should be “To-Do” lists (plural) not “To-Do” list (singular). Yes, you still need to sit down for an hour or so and create that 5 to 6-page Master “To-Do” but the Master list should be different from the “Daily” or “Weekly” list. In other words, you need your goals for the day or the week in front of you face at all times, however, the Master list only gets reviewed once per week or so. It’s from the Master list is where you pull the daily/weekly goals from. In addition, the Master list should be organized by time-horizon (e.g., Stuff to do this Month, Stuff to do in the Near-Term (3 to 6 months) and Stuff to Do in the Long-Term (over 6 months).
Something to think about today…