I’d like to suggest that the objective of a to-do list is not to get things done.
It’s to brainstorm different ways for making massive progress towards your goals.
Without blowing my own trumpet, I like to think that I’m pretty good at working towards my goals and I put a lot of that down to the way I write my to-do lists.
Here’s how it works
- Write your list on a Sunday night – before the interruptions of your normal working week start.
- Have your goals written down beside you while you write your list. Every to-do that you write down should be progressing you towards you goals in some way. If it’s not, why are you doing it?
- When you write your list, don’t have any old to-do lists in sight. What you didn’t get around to doing last week isn’t relevant any more, it’s about what you should do this week.
- Start with massive actions first. If your goal is to be prime-minister, what is the BIGGEST step you could take to head in that direction?
- Don’t use your email inbox as your to-do list. It’s just too tough to prioritise the big to-do’s from the small annoying ones that clutter up your inbox.
- Never have more than one to-do list.
- Cross something off when you’ve done everything you can to complete it. For example, if your action is to call James and you end up leaving him a voicemail, cross it off your list – you’ve done your part. If he doesn’t return your call and your action is that important, you’ll remember.
To summarise, it’s about being effective not efficient.
Stop trying to get everything done and focus on the few things that will see you make massive progress.