The secret of todo list success is found in living backwards.
It’s like a dance. Or maybe it’s more a case of one step forwards two steps back. Which ever is true for you, one thing is sure. We constantly add things to our todo list. We cross a few things off + feel pretty good about it. Before we know it a few more things have made their way on. Are you tripping over your feet? Do you need some todo list success?
About this time of the year you may be like me + realise that you’ve added way more things to your list than you realise. And a little frazzle + overwhelm may have set it.
I use to think the frazzle was a reflection of how organised I am + my ability to get things done. In short the good news is, that’s not the case, for me, or for you. You are an organised person who gets plenty of things done.
There’s a simple fix for taming that todo list. And it’s not about working harder.
Being a great planner + organiser doesn’t mean you squeeze as much as any human possibly can into your schedule + then work at it every waking hour to get it done. When you work this way + measure yourself by it, you are sure to fail. And wear yourself out.
You are not a failure. Your plan just needs some adjustments.
How about we make a few changes + set ourselves up for todo list success.
Will you join me + put a freeze on your todo list?
I’m jumping right to the heart here, I know. No beating around the bush. We are already half way through the the year. And I want you to finish strong + empowered.
The secret is to control the inflow.
Will you say “no” to more projects, brilliant I-just-have-to-do-that ideas + the oh, I should just do that one thing for … you fill in the blank.
Don’t get me wrong I’m all for helping others, exploring new ideas + doing that awesome new project. At the right time these are extremely energising, especially for us creative types.
Just no more new ones, until your current list is cleared, or at least almost cleared.
I’m putting a freeze on anything else coming in too. Including, dare I say it, unsubscribing to newsletters I haven’t read in the past 6 months.
Does that all that scare me?
Will I miss out on something?
What I can guarantee is that I will thank myself later for being strong enough to say no + I’ll be pretty proud to have finished what I’ve started.
I will thank myself for giving myself margin + breathing room.
Because more than getting things done, I want to enjoy each moment. I want to enjoy the process of work as much as I want to enjoy the laughter.
It doesn’t have to be for later down the track when I’ve … We can all fill in that blank.
There is something that can be done today to reduce the overwhelme of my todo list + enjoy being in the moment. And it starts with me.
I’m going to start with the end in mind.
Those projects + plans that I am committed to, I want to see them completed. Because I have more things coming down the line.
So instead of looking forward to all the things on my list, I’m living backward. I’m starting with the end in mind. I’m making a living backward plan so I can enjoy living forward.
From that place I want to be at the end of the year to now, I have some work to do. And to get it done I need to say no. No to me. I’m the one constantly adding to my todo list + I’m the only one that can stop it.
Living Backward Plan
To join me, take these steps I took this week + make a plan to live backwards :
1. Dump it
Do a brain dump. Grab a piece of paper and write down everything swimming in your head of what you need to do right now including anything you’ve committed to in the future. Any piece of paper will do.
2. Sort it
This exercise is simple, yet powerful. you will be able to quickly see just how much is coming up and when. You’re creating a draft schedule. There will be a chance to adjust it at step 4.
Write a due date next to each item. If there is no real specific date leave it blank. If you see that you have too many things for one month, this is a great time to move them out further.
Remember to give yourself breathing room. This isn’t about squeezing in as much as you possibly can.
3. Step it out
For anything that is more than a simple one item task, we’ll call them projects.
For your projects write out an action plan including all the tasks involved in completing that project. It is important to do this before you schedule your calendar as you may find that as you step out your project you need a little more time than you anticipated.
If you need to push some things back + give yourself the room to not only get things done, but to enjoy the process.
4. Schedule it
Now you are ready to schedule the items + projects in your calendar. I like to use a single page for each month and list my projects. It helps me to stay focused.
Once all the dated projects or tasks are in place you can see where you have space to schedule the undated items into your plan.
Again push things back if needed.
5. Organise it
Now that you have your action plans + monthly lists, you can insert these into your planner in the relevant months + enjoy planner peace!
Finally say no to anything new for a set period of time or until certain items and projects are completed.
Make a plan to live backwards so that you can enjoy living forward! + have todo list success.
Success comes when you #takeaction
Share: I’d like to hear from you, “How do you tame your todo list?“