Self-importance gets in the way of what’s important
Years ago, I had a very important job with many important things to do. Because the job was important, I was (of course) very important too! Accordingly, the many very important things to do were kept on a loooong and important list.
In the ensuing years, I fortunately learnt a few things. Firstly, I rarely got anything truly important done, and secondly, I really wasn’t that important! If you’ve found ‘to do’ lists less than useful, you may have been making some of my mistakes.
1. Because my lists were so long, I was more interested in shortening the list than I was at dealing with the truly important things. I would tackle the simple and often unimportant tasks, just to get that sense of achievement.
The answer – Limit lists to the 6 most important things you will absolutely achieve today. And unless there’s a genuine emergency, don’t let distractions pull you away from your 6 things
2. Mine was a daily list, yet I would write projects that would take weeks to complete on it. This would cause me to continually rewrite the task each day and often avoid the daunting project it until it became utterly urgent.
The answer – Break big tasks down and write them that way. Instead of putting ’write tender document’ on a daily to-do list; write the steps that you can and will take each day towards completing the overall task
3. I had consequence imbalance. On the rare occasion that important stuff was done, the consequence was, I was chuffed and went home. When I didn’t get the important things done, I would justify it and go home.
The answer – Force yourself to be a great daily planner by having serious consequences. Mine was simple yet effective – ‘I do not go home until my list is complete’! It took me four consecutive days of working back past 10PM to get good at planning and doing.
Now there is considerably more behind great time management than these three tips, but this article was number 6 on my list and the rest will have to wait its turn.
Yours in prosperity and fun