Why on Earth do You Still have That?
Even though this episode didn’t feature our normal decluttering segment, Why on Earth do You Still Have That?, it is not too late to vote in our polls. We will share the results of our love it or lose it debate in episode 10, plus a few other updates. So far, here is what we have put up for your vote:
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5 Tips to a better to-do list
We are tackling the to-do list, specifically, a cluttered to do list! We found 5 ways to take your to-do list from a guilt inducing reminder to a resource that actually ignites productivity.
1. Be realistic about your time
There is a reason there are so many phrases like “time is money” or “time is precious.” We understand those phrases all too well when our free time is in short supply. That is why it is so important to be realistic about the amount of time you actually have to devote to extra tasks.
We all have necessary tasks, like grocery shopping and laundry, but there are probably other tasks on your list that you may feel are needed but could actually be taken off your list. If you only have an hour or two on weekends to knock out tasks on your list, you need to be very intentional about what gets to take that time.
2. Write it down
As soon as a task pops into your head, write it down. Carry a small notebook or use an app, like Bethany, to keep a running list of your to-dos. Your brain is taking up needed energy to keep that to-do in the forefront of your mind. If you write down your task using a trusted system that you will go back to, not just a strip of paper that will get lost in the shuffle, then your brain can let go of that task.
I am sure you have experienced those nagging internal reminders, for me usually while driving, that you need to send that email or add bread to your grocery list. Those reminders will keep popping up again and again if you haven’t taken care of it yet. It can become a constant that you almost become immune to, with tasks popping up (and being ignored) on a regular basis.
David Allen, author of Getting Things Done, says try writing it all down. Grab a piece of paper and let all the nagging tasks finally have their moment in the sun. Brain dump first, then you can make a plan to tackle your pesky to-dos. For a more in depth look at Getting Things Done, you can check out my review here.
Once you have your long list of tasks, it is time to make a plan. To avoid becoming overwhelmed by a long list of to-dos. Pick your top 3 to get done for the day or for your weekend.
When those are finished, you can let yourself relax. You don’t need to feel that pressure to press on through your to-do list. You did the most important tasks and tomorrow is a new day.
Decide what you can put on hold till a later date. This goes back to number 1, how much time do you have to devote to extra tasks?
Many times, your needs change, like Bethany’s kitchen table mentioned in the episode. What seems like a to-do at the time may actually become a task you can remove at a later date. Items you put on hold may be taken off the list, especially if enough time passes!
What can be taken off of your list entirely? That is one of my favorite questions. Do you have items on your list that are just cluttering up your to-do list? Maybe things you would like to do, but that are not realistic. It might mean saying no to some obligations (even self-imposed obligations) or putting the task on hold for a later date. It’s great to have a “someday maybe” list, but your primary to-do list should be active, not stale. Plus, who wants a to-do list item that causes them guilt?
If it has been 4 years (basket, I am looking at you), it is time to say goodbye and release ourselves from an item that has been nagging us for years!
Choose 1 (or 3!) things to re-examine on your to-do list. Can you delete it entirely or put it on hold for a while?
You can leave your comments below, share on social media #atobpodcast, or send us an email Hello @ AtoBpodcast.com. We even have a voicemail line (858) 480-7722!
Getting Things Done by David Allen
Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg, which I totally mispronounced on the podcast. Sorry Mr. Duhigg!