Tick Tock - I hear from time to time, and often feel myself, that time is moving too quickly. Is this simply a side effect of aging? I recall summer days as a kid as lasting forever, that doesn’t seem to happen much anymore. What does happen is that my mind is always occupied with other things.
Things I have not accomplished, things that I wish to do when “someday” comes. My mental priority list is long and many items on there have been weathered by years of trying to stay on the list. The house needs work, I would love to visit certain places and there are always things from this awesome job and the non-profits I support that are bouncing around in my mind. I hear people say
“live in the moment” but I am not sure how that’s possible with all the exciting things happening in the future!
One of the best ways to prevent the madness that comes from having too much to do and never living in the moment, is to get in the habit of creating “To Do lists.” In the spirit of transparency, I am really bad at this. In learning how to be better, I have discovered that there are some substantial benefits to this practice, so I thought I would share some of them with you as it clearly works for some. In fact, I keep throwing things at our VP of Operations, Patty Paquet and nothing ever gets missed, because it goes “on the list.”
Order is created, and order is good. Often times we look at projects and they are simply too vast to start because they have so many parts to them. Writing down the steps often reveals sections that are easily accomplished. This allows you to start and make progress while you lay out a path
Priorities and focus become clear. As your list takes shape, you can compare tasks and easily determine the most important or time sensitive items. This not only tells you where to start, but
will give you a place to get right back to as your day to day events pull you away from your list.
Someone becomes responsible for completion. When an item is written down, you immediately
develop an ownership of this item. It becomes something you will think of until it’s done. One added benefit, is that it may allow to you identify an employee whose strengths are specifically suited to this task. This allows you to get it off your list and see it completed by the right person.
Become Productive and Stress Free~! There is a fantastic feeling of accomplishment with each item that gets crossed off. It not only feels good, but it will reduce your stress level. One additional trick is to add down time to your list. Go to the gym, go for a walk, call a friend etc. Your list should be your method of treating yourself well, not just a daunting list of jobs. Most of all – knowing your list is shrinking allows you to live in the moment.
Have a vision. Finally, you should have two distinctly separate lists. One long term and one immediate. This allows you to stop thinking about the long term items until you decide to pull the list out and address it. It also allows you to put small steps on your immediate list that will make progress towards a long term item.
So there you go – there are a handful of reasons you should make a list. There are countless ways of doing it well, whether it’s a list on your computer, a pad of paper or there’s even an APP for that! In my case it’s a pile of yellow post-it notes but it works. Take some time to find a method that works for you and create a piece of sanity where it may be lacking. Now I am going to go make a
list of things I need in order to make a list.