Too much energy is consumed on making the list.
There is something gratifying about jotting down all the things you need to do. It quenches one’s thirst for being organized and for wanting some control over one’s life generally complicated by too many things to do with insufficient time and financial resources to do them.
When we complete the list we feel that we have accomplished something.
The longer the list, the more pleased we feel as the long list represents mastering the translation of our complicated and ever changing personal world into concrete terms.
We spend considerable time making the list and managing the list when changes are required.
Frequently we lose the list.
Occasionally we are unable the decipher items on the list due to the abbreviated language we use to “save time” making it.
And list making teaches a bad habit, namely that if you write an action plan down it will happen.
We all know this is delusional thinking. The list is never completed the way it was originally conceived yet we continue to pour our energy into making the list knowing (hopefully) that it is a draft at best.
I know it’s called a To Do list, but it’s realły a statement of intent: “(I intend)To Do” is the common interpretation of what the list means however the “Do” action piece normalły gets short shrift.
It’s time to rid ourselves of good intentions; cut back on the time spent on creating the list and increase the time spent DOING it .
The list is an imperfect creature anyway; it will never be 100% complete. Tomorrow something will come up that will render the list or a portion of it irrelevant. And the list will have to be revised.
Here are some quick-hit suggestions to DO the list.
1. Think short term
2. Limit the list to not more than 3 things
3. Allocate the 3 DO items to the 7 days you have available
4. Don’t allocate the full 7 days to your DO items
5. Stay focused and avoid multitasking
6. Modify the List
7. Develop the next list at the end of the 6th day
Carry over incomplete tasks if they are still a high priority. Incorporate what you have learned from DOING in the current cycle.
Apply this template to your career and your job where success is measured by what you DO, not by your intentions.