How to get real with your to-do list

Like all Type A personalities, I am a list maker. I have lists for everything and live and die by them. Up until recently though, there was a lot more dying than living going on! Every night I would sit down and write my to do list for the coming day knowing full well that this list was only achievable if I didn’t answer a single email or take a single phone call for the entire day. Much less deal with any contingencies. It was starting to get a little depressing as I felt I was never “getting anything done” in my day! So I figured it was time to get real.

So now when I do my to-do list each night I:

  1. Prioritise the items in this list to ensure that items in Sector I are top of the list and items in Sector II are just below. Sector II items are especially important as they are the “business building” items that usually get sacrificed in order to prioritise client work.
  2. I then trim the list and bump items to the next day to allow for an hour’s worth of Sector III items in my day. Rather than addressing these Sector III items as and when they pop up (usually via email or phone), I address them en masse in the early afternoon
  3. Anything from Sector IV is to be done outside of work/office hours if at all

These little tweaks have meant that I have stopped making unrealistic promises to my clients and at the end of each day, feel like I have actually accomplished something! So is there anything else you can do in addition to the above to take control of your to-do list? I have touched on one in the above and that will be something for Thursday!

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