Strength-Based To-Do Lists

Do you ever wonder why you aren’t getting stuff done? If you do, please read on and see if you identify with this…

My to-do lists are more like delusional wish lists. Lately there has been an added element to that, too:

My delusional wish lists are ruining my morale.

I write down tasks and then immediately feel the desire to flee far, far away. This impulse quite understandably curbs progress.

This time, however, I have a plan, and it’s based on my strengths.

For me to even begin this plan, I had to spend time recognizing my strengths and weaknesses. Once I did that, I saw why certain tasks were remaining on my list for an embarrassing amount of time. I’ve illustrated this exercise below. (more…)

Reflections on a Particularly Distracted Day

Today was a whirlwind of inefficiency.  It’s 5 p.m. and I’m exhausted. There is paperwork everywhere. I must do an autopsy on today’s productivity.  Here are the issues I see and, so I don’t get depressed listing out my problems without possible solutions, I’ve add those, too…

Problem: I didn’t start out with a focus for my day.

When I simply wake up with the goal of doing all the things all at once, I fail. Not only do I fail, but it’s a sort of across-the-board failure that leaves me wanting to hide under my desk. I start and stop many different projects. I get into what I call my “little spinny place” and I whirl around in circles until I’m exhausted. I pay attention to urgent tasks and forget all sense of purpose to my day. It’s really an awful place to be.


Productivity amidst Chaos: Simplifying Your Approach for the Purposes of Time Management and Sanity

I’ve got a stack of papers on my desk that just toppled over because the pile got a bit too high. It’s like a tower ready to collapse, ominously leaning one off to the side. I’ve got a million things to do today and all of them are important. I feel scattered. I’m exhausted, and the coffee I drank in hopes of waking me up only served to give me a case of the jitters. It’s only 11 a.m. and I am wondering just exactly how I am going to get through the day.

If anything in the above paragraph sounds familiar, read on. I’m talking myself off a ledge here with a few techniques that have worked for me in the past. Come along on my journey towards a simpler, easier, more productive day!
There are three things I can do today to simplify my approach and get more done: 1) Obey the Rule of Three, 2) Can the Perfectionism; and 3) Eliminate Electronic Distractions. Allow me to explain…

Obey the Rule of Three
I have a business coach friend who admonishes me constantly because I try to do too much all at once. I could go into great depth about the history of why I do this (societal approval, family patterns, and overall neuroses, to name a few) but really, who has time for that? My friend’s Rule of Three plays out like this:
You only get to pick three things you are going to work on right now. If you want to get even simpler and narrow it down to one, that’s great. But just pick three things and make them your focus.
I can hear protesting voices even as I write.
“SURE!” you may be saying. “That’s great for you, honey, but I have more than THREE THINGS to do today!”

I hear you. I still believe in the rule of three, however, for this reason: Maybe you’re different, but personally, there is no way I can do ten things at once. Actually, I can’t even do THREE things at a time. I can, however, work in chunks of time. In one chunk of time, I work on one thing. In the next bit of time, I work on the next thing. And so on.
I feel a little bit calmer when I do this and I am calmer, I tend to produce higher quality work. Would you like to this, too? If so, do this — take a breath, focus, and decide what the next hour will look like. What is one specific task you can do to advance on one specific project?