Do you have a “to do” list? If so, do you find yourself staring at an ever growing list of things to do with a only feeble sprinkling of ticked off items here and there?
The Trouble with To Do Lists
The main trouble with to do lists is that we get very creative and eclectic with them. It’s as if we use them to brainstorm, rather than to get things done. Instead of writing down only essential items that we really do need to get done, we get all creative and start playing some kind of word association game, or creative expansion process.
Before you know it you have a to do list that looks like a shopping list, and you feel so overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of task that you feel you have to get done, that you do… nothing!
You become paralysed by having too much to do and you don’t know where to start.
When Creativity is a Bad Thing!
Creativity is considered a great thing, but it can be the enemy of accomplishment. If you have a mind that’s an idea magnet, it’s all too easy to find yourself writing a book, or a whole series of them, when all you need is an article. One article. Sure that one article can live in a book, if it gets some friends later along the line. But it can be hard enough to churn an article out without brainstorming it into a book before you even got started;that just leads to project paralysis.
Do Less to Do More
It’s the same with getting things done around the house. Instead of writing “clean my room” and then slumping to the floor as you being overwhelmed by the enormity of dusting, cleaning the floor, tidying your cupboards, sorting out old things for charity etc etc. Just pick one task, do it, and tick it off. Being specific about tasks is a good way to contain them and stop them leaking all over your brain! Now you’ve made a start, you can consider what to do next.
The Elite List
Put your tasks in priority and knock anything off the list that got there due to expansive thinking. Only allow items on your list if they’re important to you. Tasks should have to earn the right to be there, otherwise they will just get in the way and distract your focus.
So before you start scribbling a list, or wallpapering your house with sticky reminders, first decide what qualifies. It has to be important, truly important and relevant to your goals and productivity to get on the list. No sneaky “shoulds”, and no creative additives. The shorter the list the more you will do. And the more you do, the closer you move to your goals, and the better you feel.
photo by pintong