Don't get me wrong, I love a "To Do" list! They can be really helpful and make you feel like you have a plan. Everyone loves a plan, right? But what if that plan was actually making you feel more stressed? Less motivated? And generally steering you down the wrong path?
How many of you reading this have written something on your "To Do" list that you have already done JUST so that you have something to tick off? Well I certainly have! The lists we write should be motivating, helping us to structure our lives and be more productive. Sadly I don't think my trick of adding things you've already done is that helpful. Carry on reading to find out some common "To Do" list mistakes and how to fix them.
1. Spending so long writing the list, colour coding, using your latest stationery that you don't have enough time to actually do anything!
2. Not prioritising tasks and writing everything that comes into your head. You end up left with a massive list of millions of things you haven't done and wanting to crawl under a duvet somewhere and hide from the world.
3. Writing vague items like, "Get a new job", "Go out more", "Be more organised". What sort of job? Where? When? What is going out MORE? Socialising? To the supermarket? Why do you need to be more organised? In your work? In your personal life? This just leads to more questions and ultimately more stress and a lack of productivity.
4. Not having a time frame. Just writing "tidy the house" or "complete task x" doesn't give you an end goal and therefore you don't have something to strive for.
5. Writing huge goals that seem so mammoth that they just work their way to the end of your list so you can put them off again.
Now, here are a few ways to make "To Do" lists work for you!
1. Break big goals into more MANAGEABLE ones. Setting a daily or even weekly target helps you to see the task as less scary and enables you to feel a sense of achievement when you reach your smaller goals.
2. Make specific goals - what EXACTLY do you want to achieve and by when?
3. Make your goals ATTAINABLE. Unless you were born in the USA* you can't be the next President... but you could pursue a career in UK Politics?
4. Time frame EVERYTHING. No open deadlines. Decide when it needs to be completed by and prioritise based on this.
5. Make everything MEASURABLE. If you want to lose weight, how much and by when? If you want to have revised for an exam, how many topics do you want to have covered and by when?
So it might not be time to ditch your stacks of post-its just yet, just make your lists work for YOU.
Want to know more about goal setting? Contact me for more information about how coaching could be just what you need.
*or have lived there for at least 14 years!