I’ve been thinking a lot lately about to do lists – specifically how to get from to do to done. I wish I could tell you that I’ve found the magic formula, but no, sorry. 🙁
I have come up with a few ideas and observations however.
First, writing a list is easy. It’s doing the things on the list that’s hard.
Forget prioritizing things in order of importance. Our brains don’t work that way. Besides if we really didn’t want to do the most important thing, we wouldn’t. You know it’s true.
Getting us to actually do anything on our to do list seems to fall into a few categories:
We do it because there is a deadline attached and we are very close to or beyond that deadline.
We do it because it appeals to us in some way. In other words, we are motivated.
We do it because we can’t stand not doing it anymore. You know – you may hate to clean the toilet, but you won’t neglect it for long.
So the question remains: how do we get from to do to done?
I have a few suggestions that might work:
Limit your to do list to 5 or fewer things. Yes, I know you have way more things to do than just 5, but it’s not like you’re going to do them anyway. Stop overwhelming yourself with so many and concentrate on just a few.
Pick one that absolutely must get done today and do it. Now feel good about yourself for accomplishing something today.
Don’t put things on your list that you do anyway (brush teeth) or that are just silly (buy gum – someone actually put that on her list, and yes, she realized how lame it was).
Find a buddy to motivate you. Check in with what you have to do and what you have done. You could use Facebook for this. Hint: use one of your kids (or all of them) as your buddy. Believe me, they will make sure you do your homework!
Realize that it took a long time for things to get to the state they are in and it won’t be corrected overnight. Small steps in a positive direction are all it takes!