Getting that to do list under control is a magnificent thing!
People who read this blog on a regular basis know that I have some to-do list issues. As a wife, mother, business owner, and writer I have many to do lists that need to be managed, tamed and controlled. However, all these to do lists have one thing in common, they need to be tamed. Most of my clients are in similar positions There are many to-do lists, each with many items and not enough hours in the day to get everything done. This means it is urgent that people learn to tame, control, and manage their to-do lists.
The first step in taming a to-do list is the creation of the list. In other words, the to-do list doesn’t start when you try to tame it. It starts when you create it. This means the first place to start your taming efforts is to be selective about what makes the to-do list in the first place. When you realize and appreciate the fact that there are only 24 hours in each day. This means you cannot put 26 hours worth of activities on your to-do lists. Start being picky. Before an item makes the list, ask the following questions:
- do you have to do it
- do you have time to do it
- will you actually do it
If you cannot answer each of these questions in the affirmative, do not put the item on your to-do list. If you put items on your to-do list that you will not do, you are asking for disappointment. When we put items on our to-do lists, we have a sense of disappointment if we do not complete the items. If there is an item that you do not have to do, but can delegate to someone else, don’t put it on your to-do list. If you do not have time to do an item, do not put it on your to-do list. If an item takes three hours to do, and you only have 1 hour available on a particular day, do not add the item to the to-do list for that date. There are some things you are not going to do, period. By way of example, I am not going to eat eggs, period. I will not eat green eggs and ham, boiled eggs, fried eggs or scrambled eggs. I am not going to eat eggs. So one thing you will never see on my to-do list is an appointment to eat eggs.
Learn to say, “No.”
Many times during the day people enter our offices, living rooms, and email inboxes and give us things to do. This is another time when we need to realize there are only 24 hours in the day and not all of them should be devoted to crossing off to-do list items. In order to tame your to do list, you must learn to say no to some things. If you have a full plate today, and someone asks you to do something else, use the special word, “No.”
When you say no, realize that no is a complete sentence. Don’t try to give a reason. The person you are speaking with will try to convince you to change your mind. This will lead to you being aggravated now and perhaps depressed later as you put items on your to-do list that you have no desire or intention to ever complete.
One of the most important things to remember about your to-do lists is that the lists are yours. You must control what goes on them, what does not go on them and when the items are completed. So the question for you this magnificent day is what are you going to do to tame your to-do list?