Does Your Tactical To-Do List Have You Focused on the Wrong Thing?

Does Your Tactical To-Do List Have You Focused on the Wrong Thing?

Anyone who knows me and knows me well could never – ever– accuse me of being lazy. My family, close friends and coach can attest to my laser (insane, perhaps?) focus when I’m working on a project – especially if I am in deadline mode. Case in point, the creation of two recent member-based experiences: Out of the Red, Back to Black & What the Hell Should I Do With My 401(k)? One of my favorite tools for staying on track and moving through the various stages of my projects is a to-do list. Sometimes, it is handwritten in a vertical format; at others times, it’s in the form of a mindmap. For me, to-do lists serve as my locus of control, helping me to see the big-picture, manage my workflow, and my choices. I suspect you use to-do lists as well. If so, go grab yours – whether it’s on paper or stored in a document on your computer. In a minute I’m going to share a recent aha that has totally transformed my relationship with my to-do lists, and it just might transform your relationship with your to-do lists as well. Power to the to-do list! But first, let’s dig a bit deeper as to why to-do lists are so powerful; they are great for: Breaking down large projects into smaller, more manageable pieces Bridging the gap between the big-picture end result and the day-to-day tasks/considerations to get to that end-point Clarifying all the components of a project and helping you see more clearly how the components fit together Managing and prioritizing multiple projects, deliverables, and commitments...

Overwhelmed? Schedule thinking time.

I’m having a fantastic summer! After spending  the three previous summers working on book related deadlines, I’m definitely taking full advantage of my newfound freedom. My evenings and weekends have been filled with barbecues, live music, plays, weekend excursions, or leisurely brunches. Fun, fun, fun!!! Yet, I can’t seem to escape this nagging feeling of overwhelm. As the summer draws to a close, the tension between the present and the future continues to mount. At times, I feel as if preparing for the future is suffering as I enjoy whatever I’m doing that’s non-work related; other times, I feel as if I’ve sacrificed my personal time for three years and the future can simply wait until I’m ready. (Indignant, right?!) Well, we all know the adage, “time waits for no one.” My sense of overwhelm reached a plateau today as I realized that fueling the tension of the present v. future is yet another tension: doing v. thinking.  So much so that I decided that the best way to deal with these tensions is to schedule “thinking” time. Initially, I felt ridiculous actually marking a date/time on my calendar with “work space/thinking.”  But like anything else, if it’s not on the calendar it isn’t likely to happen. So begins my experiment with scheduling thinking time! What do you do to bridge the gap between the present v. future and tasks of doing v. thinking? I’d love to...