I am a keeper of lists. To-Do lists to be exact. In the past I would often become paralyzed, overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of what I wanted to accomplish. Then at a recent training seminar a guest speaker introduced David Allen’s method of Getting Things Done and to me the important concept of the Brain Dump.
I realized I allowed things to trickle out, writing them down here and there throughout the week. This scattered approach left me ineffective. With this new idea I honed my method and redefined some simple steps to conquering To-Do lists.
- Quiet the Noise– To avoid overwhelm so you can make clear decisions empty your brain of all your to-do clutter. Do a “brain dump” or “mind Sweep”. Set some time aside each week or each day to write down everything you can think of in your head. Everything you want to do no matter how small or inconsequential, short term, long term, or immediate. Don’t sort it just dump it. Write it down in one place until your head is empty. This way you no longer have to think about it.
- Sort it out– Now you can go through the list and sort it into categories that make sense to you. Define What it is. Is it actionable? Categories can be as simple as Business or Personal. Perhaps you want to be more specific…Home, Office, Projects, Calls, Errands, Waiting For and Someday. Now filter this information to set your time frames; what is urgent? What matters the most?
- Take the leap– At this point you need to choose where to begin. Does anything jump out as a forerunner?
- Don’t spread yourself thin– Pick only a few to tackle. Perhaps begin with 5-10 items. These become your working to-do list. Complete these tasks then pick 5-10 more.
- Don’t underestimate the immediate Gratification of completion- Many of us try to tackle too many things at one time. Finish the task at hand before moving on to the next one. No matter how long it takes, 1 hour, 1 day, or 1 week. The immediate gratification of completing a task will build momentum. You will find yourself more productive.
- Don’t back down- The thing I have learned about to-do lists is they never end. There is always more to do, more to add. So keep going, everyday. Little by little you will reach your finish lines.
All Images: Simply Luxurious life
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