We love to make them and love to hate them: to-do lists. They help us feel organized but looking at them can also leave us overwhelmed.
The reason we keep coming back to our Post-it® notes and crumpled pieces of paper? To-do lists work. Writing down a goal turns a passive commitment into an active commitment.
But, now that we’re committed, this is when our anxiety begins to mount and we wish there were more hours in the day. Danielle M. Miller, a career invention coach, says success lies in changing your mindset about commitments and to-do lists. She even goes as far as to call them a “ta-dah” list.
Here are her five techniques to end each day with a resounding and gratifying ta-dah!:
1. 3D Glasses: Use the 3D strategy: Do it, delegate it or dump it. All tasks fall into one of these three categories.
2. Time Tested: Break tasks down into manageable chunks. It’s important to be reasonable when doing this. Don’t give yourself a half hour to balance your checkbook and finish your taxes. You’ll end up putting yourself behind and feeling frustrated. Timers are also an effective tool for divvying up your tasks and time. Danielle encourages her clients to work against the clock in 20-25 minute increments.
3. Number One: Prioritize the tasks on your list. You can’t really start attacking your list if you don’t know where to begin, right?
4. Don’t Eat That Frog: People are often told to “eat that frog,” or start with the most daunting task first. Danielle disagrees, saying this actually works against your momentum. Begin with a few of your smaller tasks to get you feeling motivated and accomplished. You’ve got this!
5. Get a Checkup: Not only hold yourself accountable for the goals on your list; have another person check up on you. It’s much easier to make excuses when only answering to your ego. Answering to another ups the ante and increases your commitment.
A to-do list is simply a tool for time management, and time management, many times, relies on effective self-management. These to-do list techniques will not only help you say ta-dah after accomplishing important daily tasks but can help you work toward even bigger goals you’ve set for yourself. (Learn how to set financial goals for your future, here.)
Special thanks to Danielle M. Miller, certified career invention coach and founder of Danielle M. Miller Coaching/Consulting. Her mission for women is to “Create The Life You Crave by Doing the Work You Love!” Connect with Danielle: www.twitter.com/daniellemmiller, http://www.facebook.com/shesasmartcookie and http://www.daniellemmiller.com.