Most of us are too quick to add items to our To Do list.
Which means these lists very quickly become a mile long. Overwhelming and unmanageable. De-energizing and undoable.
What’s your list like?
What about you? If I looked at your To Do list, how many items would I find? Only a handful? Dozens? Too many to count?
And how does it feel when you look at your To Do list? Do you feel stressed out and overburdened?
Because many women confide to me their To Do list makes them feel bad. Not organized, but overtaxed. Not on top of things, but perpetually behind.
That’s what happens when your To Do list becomes a not-so-subtle form of self-sabotage.
Try this strategy
Well, what if you were to pull your To Do list out right now—and mark something off? Not because you tackled the task on the spot, but because you decided not to do it.
Yep, that’s right. Decide to leave a To Do undone.
Spot the non-essential
That’s something I’ve been doing a lot more of lately. In fact, I make it a weekly practice to review my To Do list with a single goal: Find the non-essential and get rid of it.
Sometimes I come up empty. Everything on the list stays on the list.
Other times I find two or three non-essential To Dos that have snuck onto my list. Oh, the energy boost of marking something off without having lifted a finger to complete it!
Payoff versus energy expended
Scanning your To Do list for what can be removed takes only a couple minutes. With the intention of spotting non-essentials, simply ask: What’s the payoff for completing this task versus the energy I’ll need to invest?
For instance, let’s say selling an old laptop is an item on your To Do list.
When it comes time for your weekly To Do list inspection, you decide the payoff for selling an old laptop on Craigslist isn’t worth the time and energy you’d need to invest to list it for sale.
You remove the item from your To Do list and donate the laptop instead.
Off the list and off your radar
Here’s the key: When you take something off your To Do list—undone—you have to take it off your radar too. It doesn’t get to nag at the back of your mind or drain your energy.
It’s gone. Not done, but gone. And sometimes that just as good, if not better.
Are you ready to take a fresh look at your To Do list through the lens of payoff versus energy investment? What will you take off your list?