How to ditch your ‘To Do’ list
Deb Workman reveals why we find it so hard to ditch our ‘To Do’ list and what to do about it. Are you letting distractions get the better of you? Imagine if instead of being addicted to our ‘To Do’ list, we were guided by our energy rather than a list of tasks. We would […]
Deb Workman reveals why we find it so hard to ditch our ‘To Do’ list and what to do about it. Are you letting distractions get the better of you?
Imagine if instead of being addicted to our ‘To Do’ list, we were guided by our energy rather than a list of tasks. We would likely all move about in a more efficient way without feeling bad about ourselves and gain more energy in the process.
Many people are now re-evaluating their lives – slowing down intentionally while getting things done more and prioritising what’s most important to them; what lights them up most.
In saying that, a lot of people still live and die by their ‘To Do’ lists and fear forgetting something that is really important if they don’t have a list.
Some often feel out of control without the list. If items are being actioned in a timely fashion and more things being crossed off, then this can feel empowering.
If, however, the list is not decreasing in size, then one of the downfalls or the setbacks of the ‘To Do’ list is that it actually becomes disempowering and keeps us stuck in overwhelm.
For those who are ready to navigate away from their ‘To Do’ list so they can lead and inspire from a place of peace and purpose rather than being plagued by their endless list – here are two questions:
- What do I do instead?
- What’s the best way?
How to take action towards what we truly want in life/career/business
In terms of how to ditch the ‘To Do’ list, for myself and with my clients, I show them that there is another way. I encourage them to try ‘something new and something different’ from a few different strategies.
The way most of us have learned to do things is by making that ‘To Do’ list by writing down our task/our problems with no solution or commitment of getting it actually done.
People struggle to eliminate the ‘To Do’ list as they view it as things that ‘have to’ get done.
What if we flip that approach and viewed them as things we ‘get to’ do, which opens up choice and freedom. Part of this is encouraging people to “mind their thoughts” around the ‘To Do’ list, so that we stop overwhelming and start overcoming.
Sometimes a simple re-frame can help you to see your list differently and lift the energy towards it. What if it was no longer a have to, but a get to.
I call this turning the must do’s into get to’s.
Here are two other helpful tools that create efficiency and more freedom. To help people move towards ditching their ‘To Do’ list and get back control of their time, I suggest introducing a time map and prioritising your energy into a matrix.
1. The Time Map: Time on your terms
This tool can be used to create a plan for your ideal week.
It’s a spreadsheet where you can plot out all your waking moments, prioritized the way you want by categories such as: wellbeing, time with your partner, fun time with your kids, self-care time, exercise, work time (especially important to know when to shut the home office doors at the end of the day). This is something you fill out weekly, custom-based on your ideal week.
I’ve been using these techniques, among others, for the past 20 years while working with corporate clients and in a coaching and workshop environment. We’ve seen shifts in productivity as well as purpose.
When we asked “What did the time map do for you?” we received responses like these:
“I got my power back and feel excited about where I got to share me, and where I got to allocate my energy, and know and own my personal boundaries are being honoured.”
“It was no longer a must do To Do list approach, but I get To Be here. and here. and here. [I now] prioritize my time and energy intentionally every moment of every day.”
2. The Energy Matrix
This is a quick and simple way that lets you see where you are putting your energy and where your energy is being drained and then start to prioritise it towards what you want. Creating this matrix and taking a birds-eye view of it will give you greater insight. Most times we aren’t enjoying our lives, and it’s because we aren’t doing enough of what lights up our soul and too much of what doesn’t.
You can start by asking yourself some of these questions:
- What tasks are going to make me feel good?
- What tasks are draining?
- What tasks am I going to outsource?
“It brought me more awareness towards what increases my energy and what decreases it. I now have more intention behind how I choose to use my energy in work, life, business and relationships.
Why is it bad to have an overwhelming ‘To Do’ list?
An overwhelming To Do list can lead to a slippery slope of negativity as people start to feel bad and focus on what they didn’t get done. This negativity can then spread into relationships with their kids, partners and work colleagues.
As a NLP Master Trainer, I also help my clients dig into what is causing procrastination and lack of motivation to getting things crossed off their lists. What habits, assumptions and beliefs systems are they prioritising rather than being empowered and disciplined with their time? Are they sleeping in until 10 every day? Are they binge watching Netflix?
Sometimes it can be helpful to boldly ask ourselves:
What distractions am I allowing into my life that are preventing me from taking inspired action to get the results I want?
For me personally, to prevent distractions and to stay aligned with my ‘Get To Do’s’, each week (usually on Sunday nights) I do a brain download and allocate the time into my Time Map for the week ahead. I’m practically moving the To Do list into a calendar format and know that I am going to adhere to that scheduled time and get it done.
I also run the Energy Matrix over it to ensure I am not spending my time and energy on something that is draining for me and can be delegated to others who enjoy it and can do it well.
In life, two of our most valuable resources are our time and your energy so I recommend using them both with intention.
By switching your mindset and using new and different strategies, like turning your ‘Have To Do’ list into a ‘Get To Do’ list, you’ll experience more freedom, fulfillment, peace and purpose.
For more information on how to ditch the To Do list and honour who you want To Be and show up, please download my free checklist on my website. www.deborahworkman.com
Deborah Workman is a Life and Leadership Success Coach, NLP Trainer, highly sought-after speaker and the founder of Illuminating Lives. She’s passionate about her work with high achievers and is dedicated to helping them refine their ability to achieve extraordinary results with her unique methodology and commitment to her clients’ results.