Too Much To Do - I Never Get Everything Done
Too Much To Do - I Nevër Get Everything Done Five minutes can change that forever.
When Bill Madson said "Too much to do!" the frustration on his face told me he had a serious problem. He continued, "I nevër get everything done!"
After listening to his situation for twenty more minutes, Bill flooded me with questions: "Is my problem unique? Is this a situation I must live with for life? Is this situation chronic to my job? Can you do anything to help me?"
The first thing I shared with Bill was that 95 to 99% of the professionals I have met working with 140 Fortune 500 companies related to his anxiety. Bill is not alone. I agreed to help Bill if he would be willing to spend just five minutes a day faithfully using two simple proven tools to solve his frustration. He agreed. Herë is what I told him.
Bill's Problem - Rooted in His Excellence. I first asked Bill to accept the fact that on any day he has the ability to think up more to do than he can possibly do. Four things limit what he can accomplish: his time, talent, resources and energy. Only his talent limits what he can think up. With hesitation, Bill agreed that part of his problem was rooted in his talent. We moved to the way he planned his day.
Two Huge Mistakes:
* Using an ordinary to-do list
* Not guestimating how long things take and adjusting accordingly
A To-Do List Helps But Frustrates
Bill shared how a consultant encouraged him to use a to-do list. Religiously, as Bill thought of things to do, he would write them on that to-do list. He would work hard to get it all done. At the end of the day, he equally religiously checked off all he had accomplished. He showed me yesterday's to-do list.
"I started the day with thirty things. I came in early, skipped lunch and worked late. During the day I added four things. At the end of the day I chëcked off the three things I got done. As I walked to the car, what do you think I was thinking of? The three I got done or the thirty-one items still on my list. After working hard and extra time, how do you think I felt that my to-do list was longer at the end of the day that when I began? I felt miserable," Bill blurted out.
"Bill," I replied, "You are experiencing to-do-list frustration, lovingly called TODLIF. Let me show you a way to overcome to-do-list frustration immediately and forever."
A To-Do List Is a Contradiction
I explained how a to-do list contains a contradiction. Bill, like most to-do list users, hurried to add to his to-do list each time he thought of something else. Coming in early, skipping lunch and working late, he tried to get it all done. He put unlimïted items on the list. Because of his limitations of time, energy and resources, he could chëck only a limited number of things off. A lose-losë situation.
Using an ordinary to-do list condemns many professionals to lives grounded in an underlying negative feeling "I nevër get it all done." This negative conviction saps part of the total energy needed for full accomplishment.
A Simple, Inexpensive and Immediate Solution to To-Do-List Frustration If you can call TODLIF a psychological sickness, then the penicillin for the situation is the Holding Pen and Priority List. The good news is that the Holding Pen and Priority List work even faster than penicillin.
This 1-2 punch will give you an immediate cure. First, create a holding pen where you write down all your to-dos as soon as you think of them. Your holding pen can be a simple pad of paper or as elegant as the latest Palm Pilot, Black Bird or computer.
At the beginning of each day, create a priority list. Your priority list items come from the Holding Pen. However, herë is the critical difference: on your Priority List, place only those priorities you believe you can accomplish today.
Guestimating - The Critical Step
Most people skip this simple one-minute step: guestimating how long each item will take, then adjusting the list accordingly. Two hints: * Things usually take longer than you believe - plan accordingly. * Build in time for the unexpected and you won't be disappoïnted.
During the day as you think of more things to do, quickly add them to your Holding Pen. Then you are frëe to immediately get back to the one priority of the moment with vigor and total concentration. And you will not forget anything because it's captured in your Holding Pen.
How Bill's Picture Changed:
Bill, Using Ordinary To-Do List
As Bill went to the car, having accomplished three things, he got only 10% of his original 30 and still has 31 to do. Which do you think he focused on--the three accomplished or the 31 still on the list?
Bill Using Priority List and Holding Pen
Bill's Holding Pen is out of sight, to be used when he sets his Priority List tomorrow. As he walks to the car, he only sees the three priorities he began with, and accomplished today. Bill smiles as he reflects, "Finally, I got it all done."
An Immediate Triple Wïn
If you're like Bill Madson, when you use the Holding Pen and Priority List, you can expect a triple wïn.
Wïn #1 - All Mental Energy Focuses On Priorities
Bill became aware that a chronic part of his problem was the underlying worry and conviction that he would "Nevër Get It All Done!" The mental or psychic energy that went to the worrying was taking away from his total focus on the one Most Important Nöw of each moment.
With the holding pen and priority list, all this is changed. Today, Bill accepts and is thankful that he has the talent to create more to do in a day than he can possibly do. He has joined the ranks of the outstanding achievers; he focuses on the most important.
Wïn #2 - Increased Achievement
Today Bill achieves more for two reasons: * He does not losë focus worrying about not getting it all done. * By consistently focusing 100% of his mental energy, he joins the ranks of outstanding achievers.
Wïn #3 - Increased Satisfaction - "I Got It All Done"
Imagine most of your days ending by looking at your priority list and being able to say those glorious words, "I got it all done!" Better yet, "I got it all done again!"
15-Second Summary - Your Take-Home Value:
* Too much to do! I nevër get it all done!
Condition To Solve Your Problem
* Acknowledge your talent--you can plan more in a day that you can possible do.
Simple Solution You Can Use Immediately
* As you create things to do, immediately put them in your holding pen.
* When planning your day, only select those priorities you can accomplish today.
* Guestimate how long each item will take and adjust priorities
Results You Can Expect
* All your mental energy focused on achievement.
* Increased achievement especially of the important things.
* The satisfaction of regularly getting it all done.
The material for this article comes from Dr. R. James Steffen's new book: Aligned Thinking Make Every Moment Count: How successful people get what they REALLY want. To read a few chapters or more articles, go to www.SSAinternational.com