3 Steps to Get Things off Your To-Do List for Good!Mar 08, 2022
By Claire Whittaker.
Q1 is rapidly coming to a close. Did you get everything you wanted to do done?
How do you feel about the goals you set back in Jan? Are you still excited? Or starting to feel overwhelmed? If you’re in the latter camp, maybe it’s time for a refresh.
Every March for the last few years, I have done a spring clean of the flat. I love to use this time of year to get rid of the things that I no longer use and tidy up before the summer months come in & I lose motivation.
This month I want to help you clear out your to-do list so you can refocus on what excites you and stop feeling guilty about those little things that never quite seem to get done.
First things first, let’s understand if your goals are still aligned.
Step 1: Realigning your goals
First things first, I want you to go back to those goals you set in January. Regardless of how well you’ve stuck to them or not, do they still motivate you? If yes, then great. If not, then think about re-writing those goals to something that accurately reflects what you’re trying to accomplish.
Once you’re happy with the goals, it’s time to look into your calendar. Be honest with yourself; how much of your time are you devoting to things aligned with these goals?
I’m not trying to shame you. I’ve often conducted this exercise and realised I’m spending less than ½ a day working on what I want to achieve for the year.
We’re all busy, and that’s ok. However, this exercise of just looking at how much time you’re devoted to achieving your goals can be a real eye-opener. More often than not, it’s less than you think. Once you know this, it’s easy to see why you might not have made as much progress as you hoped.
Now you know, you can rework your calendar to give more time to your goals.
Over the rest of the article, I’ll take you through 3 steps to help you remove things from your to-do list to get that time.
Step 2: Prioritise & Remove
Now that your goals are aligned, it’s time to start taking action. Take a look over your to-do list. What activities on the list are the ones that have the most significant impact on your goals? These should become the priority.
Take another look over your to-do list. There are likely some items that have been around for a while that felt important, but you never quite finish. Ask yourself these things:
1. Do I need to get these things done?
2. What would the consequences be if I didn’t get these things done?
3. Do I want to do these things?
More often than not, the answers to these questions will go like this:
2. Nothing really
Once you know this, you can remove them from your to-do list. You do not need to do things just because they’re on the list, and you have complete control.
After this exercise, you have a prioritised list of tasks tailored explicitly around what you want to achieve.
Step 3: Setting up systems to take things off your plate
Now you have a prioritised list, you can think about what systems to use to cut down your tasks further. For example, if cleaning the house is on your list, you could hire a cleaner to help you or have your children pick up some of the tasks as part of their chores. You could even think about buying one of those vacuum cleaner robots to clean the floors for you.
You’d be surprised how much you can automate and delegate if you put your mind to it. The game aims to get back time.
Even smaller tasks add up if you can remove enough of them. If you’re struggling to see how you can take a job off your plate, break it down. For each task on your list, split it out into all the smaller to-dos.
Once you have this list, it will be easier to see opportunities to hand over parts of the process, so you’re only doing the things that specifically need your input.
It’s easy to get sidetracked from our goals and end up with a long list of to-dos.
Just because something goes on your to-do list doesn’t mean you have to do it!
Instead, always keep in mind what your priorities are:
1. Regularly evaluate what your goals are
2. Remove things from your to-do list that aren’t aligned
3. Set up systems to remove other tasks that don’t specifically need your input
After you’ve gone through this cycle a couple of times, you’ll see your list gets shorter and shorter.
Say farewell to feeling overwhelmed and enjoy the satisfaction of getting things done.
Claire Whittaker is the Founder of Artificially Intelligent Consulting (AIC) and is on a mission to empower 1000 purpose-driven entrepreneurs & agencies to scale to 7-figures without having to sacrifice everything else that makes life fun.
A systems and automation specialist, Claire never sacrifices work for fun, has a razor-sharp eye for structure, and loves nothing more than a Sunday roast and a margarita. You can find out all about her here.
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