Text: Two quick secrets about to-do lists

Two quick secrets about to-do lists

To-do lists get a bad rap as bringing stress and overwhelm and taking SO MUCH TIME.

Here are two super quick secrets about to-do lists.

Secret 1: It’s just another name for goal and project management.
To-do lists are your system for keeping your business and life running smoothly and staying focused on what matters.

Secret 2: A well-crafted to-do list gives you time back.
It does! Because it’s tied to your goals and gives you permission to not worry about everything else. 

When you’re to-do list is crafted the right way, it does feel like everything is easier.

So, does your to-do list keep your business running smoothly? Does it give you time back? Or does it bring you stress and overwhelm?

Let me know if you want help creating a to-do list that keeps things running smoothly, gives you time back, and allows you to work less while accomplishing more.

Text "What's the magic pill to make your project/task management effortless?"

What’s the magic pill to make your project/task management effortless?

A question I often get is, “what project/task management app do you use or recommend?”

Often the real question is, “What’s the magic pill to make my project/task management effortless?”

I don’t use a project/task management app.

And I generally won’t recommend someone start there to get organized.

If you don’t know how to effectively project/task manage, then adding the complexity of learning new software will make your project/task management that much harder.

You probably are busy and have many things happening in your business and life if you’re looking at adding this kind of management app to your business. But it won’t build the foundation for you.

If you:

  • don’t know what your projects and tasks are
  • don’t have your processes and systems set up

Then how can you expect an app to manage them for you?

If you’re moving into a house, you have to decide what goes into each room, closet, cabinet, or drawer before you put things in them.

You can’t effectively use the app if you don’t know what your projects and tasks are or you don’t know your processes and systems.

So, what’s the magic pill to make your project/task management effortless?

Take the time to lay out your projects and tasks and set up your processes and systems.

If you need help with this, reach out and we can have a chat!

Text "Is your to-do list less of a helpful tool and more of an anxiety-creating monster?" with small cute pink screaming monster

Is your to-do list less of a helpful tool and more of an anxiety-creating monster?

At least once a year, I come across an article or video about how to-do lists don’t work and we shouldn’t use them.

Their definition of a to-do list tends to fall into one of two categories:

  • The list of everything you want and need to do
  • The list of things you plan to get done if today is the perfect day with no interruptions or unexpected sidetracks AND if you can get 12 hours of work done in 7 or less!

A to-do list is less of a helpful tool and more of an anxiety-creating monster with either of those definitions.

Your to-do list can be a helpful tool that keeps you on track with your goals.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a place for the list of everything you want and need to do.

As David Allen says:

Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.

Your daily to-do list is not your everything list. Instead, your daily to-do list is a list of items that you plan on completing taking into account your appointments and normal interruptions.

I already hear you saying, “But I can’t plan for my interruptions. That’s why they’re interruptions!”

One of the common reasons I hear for not creating a to-do list is, “I never can get through it because of the unexpected interruptions! It’s so frustrating!”

This is a cycle that prevents you from creating a daily to-do list that works for you. 

How long will you let this cycle hold you back?

Let me know if you’d like to have a chat about how to create a to-do list that works for you.

Productivity for Solopreneurs: Insights to getting things done #122 / Two common to-do list mistakes and what to do about them

Two common to-do list mistakes and what to do about them

How effective is your to-do list?

I’ve found that most people have one in one form or another.

And sometimes we assume that everyone puts together a to-do list the way we do.

I’ve found that people are generally making one or two mistakes with their to-do lists and we’re going to talk about that today.

Mistake 1

Your to-do list is on whatever piece of paper or notebook that happened to be near you when you needed to write somethings down.

A side effect of this to-do list method is you keep thinking about all the things you have to do. Your mind is a constant stream of things to do.

This is because your brain is super smart (really it is) and it knows that you might not find that piece of paper or notebook when you’re at your desk ready to do that work.

What to do instead

Have ONE place you write your to-do lists.

You’re not creating your WHOLE planning and tracking system here, you’re starting with ONE small tweak that will help you develop a habit that supports your future planning/tracking system.

You might start with a smaller notebook that will easily fit in your purse or an app on your phone.

I’d suggest starting with a notebook and seeing how that goes for a bit.

Mistake 2

Your to-do list is in ONE place, but it’s a list of EVERYTHING that you need to do.

This is actually a good problem to have because it means that you’re writing things down (physically or digitally) and you know what needs to be done. 

What to do instead

Create a list of only what needs to be completed today or this week. The other things can be done in the coming weeks.

This allows you to set your priorities once a week and then you won’t have to decide on a daily or moment-to-moment basis what your priorities are.

Ideally, these things tie to your goals for the month, but again, it’s about doing one small tweak so that you start creating the habits that support your future habits and systems.

Now, you might be wondering why I’m not suggesting that you start with creating a planning/tracking system right off the bat.

My question for you is: have you tried jumping right into a planning system or goal tracking system before? Yes? How did that go?

What I find with my clients is they have a list of things they’ve tried (and planners in the closet with maybe a month filled out) and then something popped up, they got busy, or there was some other disruption.

The new system took a lot of time and effort to keep up with because the habits around it hadn’t developed yet. So, it all fell apart.

Instead, look at the small steps you can take or one habit you can develop that will make a difference. When that step is completed or that habit developed, then you can add something else.

If you want to know a couple of small tweaks that will make a big difference for you, reach out to schedule a complimentary session with me. You can do that by commenting or filling out the Contact Me form on my website here: http://www.oneinsightcloser.com/contact-me


Productivity for Solopreneurs: Insights to getting things done #113 / Choosing between an impromptu visit and your to-do list

Choosing between an impromptu visit and your to-do list

I was searching through my blog archives last week and came across something I wrote seven years ago that really stuck with me.

It’s about what to do with impromptu visits.

Those “hey, I’m in town today, want to grab some lunch” type of unexpected invitations.

For me, they usually come from family members.

And I’m a planner. I like to have appointments on my schedule at least a week in advance and my tasks for the week outlined before Monday morning.

When I get an impromptu visit or lunch request, it can feel like someone took a large cartoonish wrench and threw it into my well planned and thought out week.

Do I want to spend time with them? YES!

AND I want to get the things I had planned for the week done too.

The problem is if I always say no last-minute requests of my time, I might not have an opportunity to see that person again for a few months.

I don’t know about you, but one of the reasons having my own business was appealing was that I could occasionally enjoy these impromptu visits.

So, if I say no to these visits, am I honoring my schedule and plans or am I being too tied to them?

Here’s what we forget about our to-do lists, schedules, and plans sometimes: they are there to help you and work for you. You do not work for them.

It sounds a little weird to say it like that, but sometimes in our quest to get as much done as we can each day, we forget that there are other things to do.

Life doesn’t always fit in nice little compartments and since you’re reading this, I’m guessing you really don’t want it too. You want a life with flexibility.

This doesn’t mean it’s always easy to put aside my plans for the week and have brunch with family instead. I have things! that must be done! And if I start my day late, those things! Might not get done! (does anyone else’s brain work like this? Or is it just me?)

This is when it’s helpful for me to take a breath and realize that if there are no appointments scheduled, then the things! can be done later.

When I have impromptu visits and my mind is ping-ponging between GO have fun and STAY to complete the things! I ask myself these questions:

  • Are there any appointments or meetings that this will overlap or interfere with?
  • Are there any deadlines approaching that will be negatively impacted?
  • Have I already spent time this week with unplanned visits?
  • How will this impact progress on my goals?

The gist of these questions is: will my business or goals be negatively affected by spending time elsewhere?

If so, is spending this time with this person more important than my business and/or goals?

Notice that I wrote “is spending this time with” and not “is spending time with.” That one little word changes the meaning of the sentence a bit.

Again, your schedule and to-do list are meant to help guide you and make your day flow smoothly.

They are not a ball and chain that keep you tied to your office or computer.

If you’re treating them like that, step back, get curious and ask yourself why.

Leave a comment letting me know when was the last time you said yes to an impromptu visit.

And if your schedule and to-do list feel like a ball and chain or if it feels impossible to say yes to an impromptu visit, then reach out and let’s talk. The easiest way to do that is to leave a comment or fill out the Contact Me form here.