Every Sunday, I write out a to-do list for the coming week. I plan out my activities on each day, and make notes as to tasks I want to complete within each 24-hour period. I have list of people to follow up with and a list for house stuff. I also have a note book of items to brainstorm about. I get pretty nit-picky about my lists—but if I don’t write it down, it doesn’t get done and I only focus on one list at a time.
When you make generalized lists, with big bullet items like “Networking,” “Cold Calls,” and “Business Plan”, you can become frustrated when you are not able to cross these things off your lists. To help you be more productive, break down your projects and tasks into specific bite-sized pieces, they will be a little less overwhelming and you’ll find you’ll get more done. Also, big-ticket items require big chunks of time, which aren’t always possible to set aside in the midst of a busy week and tend to get put on the back burner.
Instead of making generalized lists on which items linger for weeks or months at a time, try chunking it down. Instead of listing, “Return e-mails”, list the people you need to contact by name, and check them off one by one. That way, you can visually track your progress, and transfer only those names that remain to the next week’s list. Instead of writing, “Work on Business Plan”, break the task into pieces like “Target Market Overview” that will only take you 30 to 90 minutes to complete.
You can also cross-reference your lists to help you multitask. For example, my lists last week included items like “Yard Work,” “Gym,” and “Playtime with Kaylee.” We combined all three in one fun afternoon, which included a game of tag and Pick-Up-Sticks in the backyard.
There’s a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment that comes from crossing items off a list. If you find yourself spinning your wheels, set smaller and more manageable goals, and attack them one by one. Success isn’t measure in giant leaps, but in innumerable baby steps, like cobblestones on a road. The best to-do lists are the ones that help you look back over your week and see how far you’ve come.
Here is a link to free copy of the “To do” list I use and also give to my clients to use.
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WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE, BLOG OR WEBSITE? Please do, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Dawn Quesnel, CPCC, PCC, known as Coach DQ, is a professional coach, radio show host and workshop leader. Through the use of her B.R.I.D.G.E. programs she helps marketing, advertising, and creative entrepreneurs navigate career or business transition while maintaining a healthy career-life balance. Her core belief that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to, consistently leads clients to uncover hidden resources and strengths. B.R.I.D.G.E. the gap and accelerate your career so you can love your life now! Visit www.CareerLifeBalance.net or http://www.coachdq.com today or for more information email me.