When I hear people say they have a to-do list, I cringe, because most items on a to-do list never get tuh-dun.
That’s because a to-do list is rarely prioritized. It’s just a random compilation of all the things that need to get done, with no rhyme or reason, no timeline, no delineation of what’s important, and what’s not.
Plus, to-do lists are often self-defeating. When something on the list doesn’t get done, as is often the case, it simply sits dormant on a piece of paper, as it sadly watches other items added to the list. A proverbial never-ending story. The to-do item that got listed on Monday is, by Friday when unattended, shouting out: “Hey! What about me? When are you going to get to me?”
I’m an advocate of a will-do list. The word “will” can be defined as “the mental faculty by which one deliberately chooses or decides upon a course of action”.
A will-do list is a powerful motivator, because it means a decision’s been made. Once the decision is made, steps in the direction of goal attainment follow much more easily.
But the will-do list alone is just a first step. To add more power to the decision, the will-do’s should be couched in terms of:
“I will do _____ on (this date).
By making this decision, I’m committed to (completing/ accomplishing/ finishing/ starting/…whatever the action is) on the date I identified.
The only thing that will take me off course is an unavoidable, higher priority circumstance or issue, or an emergency.
When I say I will-do, I’m already picturing in my mind the satisfaction and results I’ll gain from having committed to a particular action and outcome. I literally see and feel the results that my commitment will bring to me.”
Are you trapped in to-do’s? Do you feel overwhelmed by an ever burgeoning list of things to do?
Another downside to to-do lists is that they’re often very tactical, and quite often list things that might need to get done, but are not high priority.
Unfortunately, many people spend too much time in the not urgent, not important quadrants.
So a good reminder is this: It’s important to schedule your priorities, not prioritize your schedule.
Make a commitment today to commit. Identify what you WILL do, by when, for what results. Then do it. Item number 1,374 on your old to-do list will thank you for it.
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