As a society, we are obsessed with To Do Lists. There is a sense that getting things done and being busy are important. Getting things done and being busy does not achieve goals or move us any closer to our vision of success. It is just filling our time.
Some of us are so fixated on To Do Lists that they feel lost without them. I gave a seminar to a group of women business owners on their vision of success, the importance of creating goals to support that vision and strategies to achieve those goals. I never once mentioned To Do Lists. I had moved everyone’s thinking to a new level of creating success. They were inspired, aware and ready to approach their businesses in a new way.
At the Q&A session, the first comment was from a woman who said she totally understands what I am saying, and she creates a to-do list every day. Ugh! I watched most of the room move from the energy of success down to the energy of effort, working hard and being busy as soon as these women were reminded of their attachment to their To Do List. Old habits, even unproductive ones, are hard to break.
Women, in particular, are vulnerable to feeling the need to get things done. Just just being busy validates us. We are programmed in this way. We are not programmed to be successful which requires a different approach.
Knowing that we cannot give up the To-Do List, as it is engrained in us, let me suggest another approach. Have a clear vision of the life you desire, a very clear vision. Write it down. Establish goals for the year to move you in the direction of that vision. Create plans to achieve those goals. Your vision and the goals to achieve your vision are the foundation of your success. The other option is to make a To Do List, stay busy, in a routine that maintains what you have now without moving forward.
If a To Do List is essential for your comfort, create one but don’t start there. Start your day deciding the goals you want to achieve or steps you want to take to achieve your vision of success. Completing one to three goals a day is typically possible. Write the steps you will take that day.
Now go back to your To Do List. If there is something on the list that is urgent, though not important to achieving your vision, then decide that will be done today. Focus on the steps you defined to achieve your goals for the remainder of the day. If there is time remaining at the end of the day then going back to the To Do List is an option.