Is your To Do List not getting things done for you? Are you struggling to create a To Do List that works? Many of my clients are frustrated that they have created many lists over and over and over again and none work. None of their lists help them get stuff done.
To Do Lists are not all equal. Some work better than others. Let’s get yours working for you. Here are 3 steps for creating one that works:
1. Write only 3 Items on your To Do List
While you may feel that you have dozens and dozens of items to accomplish for the time you are planning, the reality is the most people only get one or two items done. I recommend focussing on only three items: the top three priority items that will accomplish your goals for the day. Everything else can sit on a parking lot list. Focus your List with tasks; don’t distract it with wishes dreams and wishes.
2. “Verb Up” your To Do List
Start each of the three items on the To Do List with an action verb. An action verb is a clear direction to your brain; do something, action is required. Even the exact action is clear. Many people make the mistake of writing their list with nouns. Your brain sees the noun and knows something needs to be done. But what? Your brain has to work harder to remember what desired “to do” actually is. Giving your brain a clear action verb makes it crystal clear what needs to be done. You and your brain can both focus the task.
For example, rather than writing “Cake”, write “bake Cathy’s birthday cake”. If you plan to ice the cake as well, “Ice Cathy’s birthday cake” would be a separate item.
3. Complete Item 1 Before Moving to the Next Item.
Focus on the top priority until it is finished. Keep working on the top priority item on your list until it is actually completed. Then, and only then, move onto the second item. Use this key ingredient and make sure your To Do’s are finished and your List is working. If the item is too big to finish in the time allotted, break it into smaller task and schedule the tasks for when there is time.
Using these three steps will strengthen your list’s ability to work for you. And hey, you want it working hard for you right? Finish your priorities; your To Do List is working for you.