A few weeks ago I looked at my To-Do List and noticed that there were three items that had been on there week after week. I’m talking not an inch of work getting done (unless feeling bad about the fact that they aren’t getting done constitutes work). I had a few options, I could continue to write those items on my To-Do List from now until eternity, remove them from the list and pretend that they were never there, or get them done. I’m pretty thrilled to say that I’ve completed two of them and have made some big steps forward on the third. I didn’t suddenly gain more time in my day, I just had to make some shifts in the way I was approaching the items on my list.
I used what I call The Three D’s. They are delegate, done later, and delete. It’s vital to get honest by asking yourself these questions.
1. Are some of the things on your list not getting done because, frankly, you’re just not awesome at that task?
2. Do you have bigger picture things to be working on as opposed to some of the more tedious and time consuming tasks?
If either of those things are true for something on your list reach out to someone else for help or to take it off your plate completely. Time is just as valuable, if not more valuable, of a commodity as money so take a moment to see if the expenditure of time that it would take you to do something is actually worth it.
1. If this doesn’t get taken care of in the next couple of weeks is that going to cause me a big problem?
2. Is there a benefit to taking care of this at a later date?
There isn’t just one kind of To-Do List. You might have a:
• Big-Goals List
• These-are-ALL-of-the-Steps-to-Take-to-Achieve-My-Goals List
• I’m-Doing-This-Done-Today List
Try not to stick everything on your more immediate lists. Stick to the deadlined items and the items that feel hard yet thrilling (those are often the ones that appear week after week). Maybe when you look at something like Do Taxes it doesn’t seem thrilling but that feeling after they’re done is amazing! Also, sometimes we can be in such a rush to complete something that we don’t take into consideration that there may actually be a benefit to waiting a bit longer. Maybe a potential collaborator isn’t available for a month or by launching your product around a particular holiday you may make more than you would if you did it immediately. The step that can’t be ignored is to actually schedule that later date so it doesn’t become a nebulous “later”.
1. Is this item on your list because someone else said you SHOULD do it or you’ve decided this is the thing you SHOULD do?
2. Is this attached to an old goal that has since evolved into something else and doesn’t really even apply anymore?
You may know how I feel about the word should. It made my nose crinkle just writing it. Whoever claimed that there is only one way to get from point A to point B hadn’t met you or me or any of the other creative thinking individuals out there. Of course there are a million and a half ways to accomplish something and that’s a beautiful thing because that means that your way is just waiting for you to claim it. If you delete that old un-evolved task from the list it will create space for a new and improved task to step up to the plate.
The Three D’s serve a duel purpose. Each of them will open up space in your calendar and they will also inspire you to take bold action on those line items that are practically crying for you to show them some love. Ask for help, schedule things according to when they really need to get done and toss out the old to make space for the bigger and better ideas.
Now’s it’s your turn to use The Three D’s. In the comments below share how you plan to incorporate them into your To-Do List. By sharing your ideas you just may inspire someone else to do something they didn’t think possible.