It is better to have many small steps in the right direction than to make a giant leap forward only to stumble backward. —Old Chinese proverb
Do you look at your Daily To Do list each day and pick out the easy tasks?
Do you have some tasks that stay on the list for a long time without getting done?
Though I love the topic of Productivity and am known for getting things done quickly. I, too, have items that just seem to hang around on that list. Why do we do this? Well, I have a few answers based on the many people I have worked with, specifically on this very issue!
Why we avoid tasks
There is a reason for avoiding this task. But oftentimes, we just keep it on the list, or keep copying it over the new list without asking ourselves why are we resisting doing it.
When I work with clients on this issue, I ask them to set a “rule” that they will honor. The rule goes something this:
A task can remain on my Daily To Do list for X number of days – maximum. My rule is 3 days.
For example, I have a task on my list that is actually multiple tasks. The task says Contact Ross. In reality, there are four things I need to do before I contact Ross.
First, I need to review the video he created for me.
Second, I need to provide written or verbal feedback.
Third, I need to find graphics on my computer that he can use.
Fourth, I need to call him….. NOW
This task of Contact Ross has been on my list for two weeks at least. And yes, I have broken my own rule of a task only being on my list for three days,. Either I get it done by the third day no matter what, eliminate the task or delegate it.
Sharing my Productivity Errors
In this example, there are multiple Productivity Errors:
1. I listed the task incorrectly. Instead, the tasks were outlined above in 1-4.
2. I left it on my list too long, not addressing why I was resisting it.
3. I could have time-boxed each task. This means that I would have figured out how long it takes to do each task, found time on my calendar to block off time to accomplish it.
4. I need to face the fact that I am not confident in my graphics that he requested, thus my hesitancy and resistance.
What you can do
So here is what I am suggesting for you to consider:
I want you to ask yourself some heartfelt questions….being totally honest with yourself.
What are you resisting doing on your To Do list?
What item has been on there for many days and is not getting done?
What is it about this task that you are not doing it?
When we resist doing a task (also known as procrastinating), there is an underlying reason that may not be so obvious.
Dig deeper for the answer
By digging a bit deeper on this task you are not doing may be of help:
Is it because you are not confident in your ability to do the task well?
Is it “too big” of a task… and really needs to broke down into smaller steps?
Are you waiting on someone else before you can truly move forward?
Have you figured out the big “WHY” do I need to get this done (the payoff)?
Or should it just be taken off of your list?
And finally, what is your rule of how many days a task can sit on your Daily To Do list? I hope this has helped you to resist one less thing in your daily life.
Check out my latest book: www.its6ambook.com “It’s 6 a.m. and I’m Already Behind: Strategies to Get Caught Up!