The definition of a Perfect To-Do list is one that works for you in a stress-free way. Recently, I stumbled on a couple of questions on-line that got me thinking:
Question #1: How did the items on your ToDo List end up there?
Question #2: How many items do you have on your ToDo list?
Here’s some observation from the review of mine:
- I have several in several places –
- on my phone for groceries and errands
- in my Trello account, stemming from a few Brain Dumps I had conducted
- in my moleskin notebook where I do some business journaling
- on scrap paper beside my computer
- on the floor (out of sight) – pages that are reminders to review & think about
- in my head and written nowhere
- They covered a range from “absolutely MUST do” to “sometime MAYBE”
- Some were part of regular business processes, while some were things to think about and explore
So it was easy to answer Question #2 by counting them, but Question #1 was difficult to answer. They were all over the map. As I thought about this, I began to realize that having them in so many places and so random in type is a source of some stress and part of the reason I can get caught up in those time-wasting distractions. What to do about this? Well, first of all, having them all in one place and that is accessible no matter where I am will help. This means using an on-line system that is also accessible from my phone. Looking around, I have options immediately within my grasp: Trello, Google Keep, or Evernote. All three would work just fine if I get it organized. This means the moleskin will not be in the process and used only for journaling.
How Shall the To Do’s be Organized?
I remembered Stephen Covey’s process in First Things First and decided to dust that off and give it another try:
- Make a list of all the roles I play. Example: Wife & Mother, Business Coach, Business Manager, Choir Member, etc.;
- Identify your Vision for each role and record one or two goals for each;
- Set up your ToDo List with Role Headers and one or two words to remind you of your vision for each;
- Pull out all the lists you have and review. Decide whether each item belongs on the ToDo List or your Calendar or both. Examples – Under Healthy Person, I try to walk 3 times per week for an hour – that belongs on the Calendar. Under On-Line Marketer, I have a plan to develop some content that requires some concentrated time – that belongs on both.
- Evaluate each ToDo against the following:
- Was this thought through in relation to a long-range vision? If yes, allocate it to a role. If no, decide if it should be dropped.
- Was this a ‘should’, a ‘wish’, or a ‘curiosity”? If yes, allocate to a Sometime Maybe category.
- Was this part of an established business process – a reminder? Allocate to appropriate role and code red to ensure its completion.
The Perfect ToDo List
This exercise takes some time to establish but will help to keep me moving forward in a stress-less way – that is, if I can get the habit established. Only time and use will tell me if it’s perfect or not.
Mindset Monday Challenge
Have a look at your ToDo’s and answer Questions 1 and 2. If you discover a stress point, spend some time getting them organized so that they work for you.