How big is your to-do list? Is it full of things that you most likely won’t be finishing? It may be time to make some cuts!
When I agree to something I really don’t want to do, it can remain on my list of things to do for a long time. It can make me feel unproductive. It affects my attitude about my day. It’s funny that most of these commitments are made with myself. Repairs around my house that I need to do. Emails that I intend to write. Books that I would like to read. You get the idea. All of these open commitments slow me down. The more I have open the less agile I am during my day.
The lesson learned for me is to not accept responsibility until I am ready to take action. Instead I keep a list of all the things I need to do, but not yet ready to start. Then I focus my priority on three to five areas that need my attention. This system makes me more effective. I accomplish more within a shorter period of time. As I complete one item, I add another from my list. Too simple? It is easy to manage on a daily basis. Aren’t the best systems simple?
If you feel overwhelmed with all that is on your daily agenda, maybe a similar system will help you. With this approach, I am able to stop distractions and create a sharp focus. You can have all the best intentions in the world but they don’t mean much unless you put action behind them. Jack Klemeyer talked about this issue with a fantastic article detailing how to differentiate between intention and action. Check out his examples below!
- When a colleague tries a marketing strategy that proves very successful for him and the business owner says, “I was going to do that, but…”
- When a deadline for registration or application passes without being completed and the business owner says, “I had that on my to-do list …”
- An event occurs that has significant impact on the community and the business owner says, “I really meant to be a part of that and contribute …”
I think all of us can say that we have said something similar to the above statements at some point in our lives, many of us maybe once per day! What it comes down to is recognizing that these thoughts are actionable. You can do something about them. The problem we usually have is feeling overwhelmed. Jack lays out some ways that we can move from wistfully thinking of all the things we can do and actually doing them:
- If you want to learn and develop your thinking and skills, you might read books and articles, take time for webinars and workshops, participate in group studies or a mastermind group.
- If you want to be a conscious capitalist, you have to develop a way to support, nurture or contribute to a cause or program.
- If you want to get new customers, you have to find ways to meet and build relationships with those people and businesses that are your ideal customer. You have to put yourself in their path and interact with them.
- If you want to get a new car, or a new home, or a new whatever, you have to make a plan to consistently save for it or designate certain income or sales toward that goal.
Don’t let yourself say “I should have” or “I wanted to” anymore. Only take on tasks you know you can and want to complete!