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Let’s Talk About To-Do Lists

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You may or may not know that my clients refer to me as the “Queen of Implementation”. My brain is wired to focus on productivity and effectiveness. Well, I’m not sure how much of it is in the wiring, but I continue to train and discipline myself for effectiveness. One way I do this is by writing things down.

Let’s talk about to-do lists.

Some of you, right now, let out an audible grown. You hate to-do lists. You absolutely HATE them. They make you nervous, and you feel overwhelmed when you write down everything you need to do on your daily list. (pssst -I would too, which is why I don’t recommend this.)

To-do lists can be so overwhelming, that we throw in the towel before we even begin. We tell ourselves, “There’s no way possible to get everything done, so I’m not going to even start.” Or “If it’s important enough, I’ll remember, or my ___________ (fill in the blank…partner, boss, kids, etc.) will remind me if I forget.”

Or maybe at the end of the day, you look at your list and only focus on what you DIDN’T get done, not what you did accomplish. Unfortunately many people are wired to look at the world like this. They have a tendency to focus on the half-empty glass rather than the half-full glass. This bias toward negativity influences the likelihood of them making lists. They won’t do them anyway, so why start. Right?

Wrong.

I want you to think about your brain, and your computer. Sometimes when we have too many browsers open on our computer, it can slow down. Or, if we’re low on RAM, it feels like we’re swimming through molasses when we’re searching or number crunching. But when we clear out the files, close the browser windows, or upgrade the RAM, things move along quicker and smoother. You get the picture.

When we make to-do lists (and more importantly “to-done” lists) our brain can work more effectively. Our brain lets out a sigh of relief because it doesn’t have to worry about REMEMBERING everything, and instead it can focus on DOING. Get it? (Yes, this is a very simplistic explanation, but it works.) I challenge you to start writing down things you’ve accomplished each day/week, and do a little happy dance to celebrate (the “to-done” list!)

Getting back to “Right Things, Right Time”…when you take time to write down, and schedule your tasks and projects, you increase the odds of getting the right things done at the right time, because you don’t have to continually sit and think “what am I supposed to be doing right now”, because you already have a plan.

My challenge to you.

I challenge you to give this a try. You don’t even need a monaplanner© to do this. Grab a piece of paper, and title it BRAIN DUMP. Spend 15+ minutes getting your task list out of your brain and on to paper. Next, look at the tasks, and figure out what day you will have time to do them, and write them in your planner on that day. Don’t write everything on the same day, or you’ll set yourself up to be disappointed. Trust me. Remember: “Right Things – Right Time”. Oh yes…remember to write your “to-done” list too!

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