It’s come to my attention that my clients (and you too, dear reader!) are obsessed with air travel. They simply adore flying from here to there.
But what mode of transportation do they take off in? Airplanes? Helicopters? Private jets like the rich and famous? Maybe hot air balloons?
Nope. Their preferred method is to fly by the seat of their pants.
Bad jokes aside, we’re facing an epidemic of well-educated, creative, ambitious women who can’t seem to get a handle on their day-to-day tasks.
Every single thing is labeled “urgent and important,” and they’ll always squeeze in another project that someone dumps on them. And be sure to give them a hose because they’re busy putting out fires too.
What about their own needs? What about their personal white space?
In the words of Edna Krabappel, “Ha!”
All the stress, disorganization, and general frazzled-ness can be traced back to our overstuffed to-do lists. I love a good to-do list for keeping on top of projects and goals, but when they get to be 10 pages long (front and back!), then they cease being helpful.
Well, I say no more acting like a scatterbrained mess!
If you’re ready to stop flying by the seat of your pants, then let’s give your to-do list a much-needed revamping. And I know how busy you are so I’ll keep this short and sweet.
You’re cleared for takeoff! Here’s how you can master your to-do list in no time at all.
The 5-Minute To-Do List Edit
If you don’t have 5 minutes to spare, then I don’t know what you do when you need to use the bathroom. Ew…
Pull out your to-do list, planner, calendar, phone, and anything else you use to organize the odds and ends of your life. Seriously, gather it all up.
If your to-do list is a heap of Post-It notes and scribbled-on bar napkins, then download a copy of my Ultimate To-Do List. This is the to-do list I use every day, and it also happens to be the most downloaded worksheet on my website.
The Ultimate To-Do List one of dozens of free worksheets, ebooks, videos, and resources in the Editor’s Toolkit. Click here for instant access.
Be decisive and choose 3 main priorities for the week. Really think about what absolutely, positively MUST get done this week, and be honest! What can be delegated to someone else? What can be dropped altogether? What non-essential things can be put off until later even if it frustrates you to wait? What task will cause horrible consequences if it’s not taken care of this week?
Once you have your 3 main goals, write them at the top of a fresh piece of paper with plenty of space to write below them. Take the rest of your to-do papers and put them in a tickler folder for later (or never).
Ahhh…doesn’t that feel better to have a streamlined task list?
Break down each main priority for the week into all the mini tasks that lead to the final outcome and write them under the main goal. The more specific, the better.
If you need to do a presentation, then the mini tasks might include researching, writing an outline, creating a slideshow, sending a copy to your manager, practicing your speech, etc.
If you need to publish a blog post, then the mini tasks could be to choose a topic, write a rough draft, find and edit a photo, save it in WordPress, etc.
Don’t worry about putting the mini tasks in order (that’s coming up next), just do a brain dump and jot them down as quickly as you can.
Next, consider all the items under each main priority and assign 3 mini tasks per work day. It means one task per priority per day so that you make progress on all your important projects without getting burned out.
Put the mini tasks in order as they need to be completed so that everything’s wrapped up by the end of the week. Easy peasy.
Now I really mean it—no more than 3 tasks per day! The whole point is to lessen your stress and avoid a meltdown, m’kay? Three tasks is plenty.
You totally got this. You’re capable of soaring to new heights while still taking care of yourself.
Remember, the sky’s the limit!
How do you edit your massive to-do list?
In the comments below, share your best tips for completing your most important tasks.
This post focuses on Step 4 of the Life Editing Process, Rearrange Everything Into a Perfect Flow. For more about life editing and what it can do for you, click here.