Lengthy To-Do lists are paralyzing!
The endless list of tasks, all which seem important, blurs in front of us. Flabbergasted at the daunting chore of prioritizing, we play it safe. Many of us then default into checking email one more time. By averting the cursed To-Do list repeatedly, we not only get further behind but more and more disheartened.
It's the norm for most of us
Ask any leader and you’ll likely hear a similar response.
Stop fighting with your To-Do list
Rather than your To-Do list being your foe, let me show you how it can be your valuable assistant. By prioritizing your To-Do list into some semblance of order, it can become a tool working for you, instead of a threat against you. Last week I walked you through a weekly planning session that had you develop a list of tasks for the upcoming week. Take the list you made and prioritize it by asking yourself the following 3 questions.
3 Questions to ask when prioritizing your To-Do list
Make use of the questions
Use these 3 questions to prioritize your weekly To-Do list and your accompanying schedule. Look at what you realistically needs to get done this week and move it to the top of your list. The rest can stay on the list perhaps and get it done if you truly have the time. But make sure the top priorities get done first. How do you do that? You get done the priories items by then moving prioritizing your daily To Do’s.
3- minute daily prioritizing
At the beginning of each day, spend three minutes identifying the top three priority To Do items for that day. Yes, only three!
It isn’t that you can only do those three things, rather those are the 3 mandatory things you must get done.
Make a separate sticky note, highlight the To-Do’s, or in some way identify that they are your top three items for the day. Then, ensure that these things get done to the best of your ability before 11 AM.
If you truly want to be more productive and successful at getting done the most important things, get your top three done every day. When you do, you will find things move forward much quicker for you.
Putting it all together
Remember to look at last week’s post on planning. In it, I walk you through the steps in how to pull out all of the To-Do’s items for in a weekly planning session. Each week, take your list and line it up against the following considerations:
Follow the plan and find your friend
Use these questions to help you create a weekly To-Do list that assists you. Your To-Do list becomes your friendly reminder of what is truly important. Use it to guide you each day, to pull out your top three To-Do items you need to focus on. Follow these steps and your peers will be wondering how suddenly you are accomplishing so much!
Question: What were your top 3 To-Do items for today?
If you are struggling to get moving on a project or finding a lack of motivation in your team, you need to figure your the “why” behind the task. You need to discover your motive.
A motive is something that causes a person to act such as:
At work, those truly aren’t the best motives. Even money doesn’t work to encourage people.
What does work to get motivation?
Getting connected to why you need to do what you need to do is the strongest motivator there is. If we can’t understand the importance of what we are doing, connected to the bigger picture, there is nothing to pull us forward.
Many of you have heard the following parable. I think it’s worth repeating here:
A man came upon a construction site where three people were working.
What is your team's cathedral vision?
We need to connect the brick we are each laying at this moment to the cathedral we are building together. You need to do this for yourself and your team. They need to understand why they are doing the task in front of them. People want to know they are part of something bigger. They want to know their part matters to that larger vision.
Dig for your "Why" by writing
The way to connect everyone to that larger vision is to spend time excavating the “why.” Set aside 5 minutes to ponder the questions listed below. Write your answers. Yes, write them down. The act of writing will completely transform this exercise from a waste of time to saving incredible amounts of time. If you don’t believe me, I dare you to try it. Then, tell me below if I was right or wrong.
The questions to ponder
When you are struggling with a lack of motivation, write down the answer the following questions:
I swear if you take 5 minutes to write down the answers to these questions you will save yourself and your team hours of frustration. If you take 15 minutes to do this exercise with your team, look out! You’ll be in for some incredible insights.
Motivate by finding your "why"
When you are struggling with motivation, connect to the reason you are trying to do the work in front of you. What is the desire, urge, or inspiration to do the task? Why bother? Take time to write down answers to questions that help you to open up your thinking. Save yourself time and frustration by investing in connecting to your motive. You’ll spark that motivation in both you and your team.
When you actually wrote down the answers, what did you discover?
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Women leaders often hit a point where they find themselves in over their heads and wondering if they have what it takes to lead.