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When we get up in the morning, most of us have multiple to-do lists: personal, familial, and professional. Sometimes the obligations that we have before us each day are so overwhelming that we become stuck, unable to proceed, unable to move, unable to decide what to do. However, the things on the to-do lists must be completed. The questions that come up then are what should be done first and how is everything on the list going to get done?
A large to-do list is scary, nerve-wracking, and stressful. None of that changes the fact that all the things on the to-do lists must be done. When you have multiple to-do lists full of things that must be done, you must find a way to prioritize the items on the lists. Here are a few methods you can use:
Look at all your lists and select the thing that must be done first in time. Continue to work your way through each list by doing the thing that must be done next in time order. This method will enable you to meet deadlines. It will also allow you to work your way through each of your to-do lists.
To use this method, look at all your to-do lists and select the list that is most important at this moment. Once you determine the list that should be given the highest priority at the moment, work on that list. Continue to work your way through your list by concentrating on the items that deserve priority attention first.
Using this method you work through the to-do lists depending upon where you are in the world. When you are at work, you go through the work to-do list first. When you are at home, go through your home to-do list first. All decisions on what to-do list to work on will be made based upon your physical location in the world.
If you absolutely cannot decide which to-do lists to attack first, leave it all do chance. Flip a coin or roll a dice and let the coin or dice determine which to-do lists and which items you will attack first. If you use this method, start it and stick with it. Do not start using the by chance method and then second guess the decision.
When we are caught in a place where we have multiple to-do lists all full of things that must be done it may be difficult to pick something and get it done. If it is all important and all needs to be done, just pick something using one of the methods above and then just do it. When you pick an item and do it, there is one less thing to do. It all has to get done so do one thing and then move on to the next thing.
The bottom line is that sometimes you have to chick up, just get up and moving. A few years ago, I attended a conference on women becoming empowered and reaching their full potential. There was one speaker who stood out more than the others, I don’t remember her name, but I remember what she said and her main message. She said, “You have to show up like a grown-up.” I have used that line to monitor and guide my behavior since.
As women with multiple lines of responsibility, we must show up like grown-ups and get things done. We do not have the luxury of inaction. We must get up, move and to repeat the phrase, show up like grown-ups. There is no pretty way to put it, no cute little words to make the job sound pretty. There is just the fact that when we have a lot to do, we must get up and get it done.
It is wonderful to show up like a grown-up and get a job done. So, the question for you this magnificent day is, what is your secret for working through multiple to-do lists?