When I do time management training I always ask the question ‘Who uses a to-do list?’
You might not be surprised to find that nearly all hands in the room go up, including mine.
However, when I ask ‘How many people feel that their to-do is is more demotivating than inspiring?’ most delegates err on the side of demotivating.
There’s a number of reasons for this but the most common is that many to-do lists never seem to get any shorter and thus start to become overbearing and even stress inducing.
So what can be done to make sure your to-do list becomes less stressful and actually helps you to be more productive as a result?
Well, here’s a simple idea:
Re-write the to-do list at the end of each day!
And then throw away the old one (yes, throw it away. You need it out of sight and definitely out of mind).
“Is that it?” I hear you ask.
In short, yes it is.
However, you need to make sure you put down all of the tasks you think you should remember on that list.
There’s a couple of reasons why this approach can help:
- It gets the stuff that’s done off the list and clears that psychological and emotional clutter away (this is more important than most folks realise)
- It enables you to empty your mind of what’s to be done so you’re less likely to stress about whether you’ve missed anything
The key here is make sure you put down everything you can think of of that to-do list. And it doesn’t matter if it’s only little jobs, it’s important.
This ‘brain’dump’ (for want of a better phrase) clears the mind and will reduce stress because you can leave work knowing that you’ve written down what’s next.
Remember : “The day’s not over until the next day’s planned!”
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