The Quick Win Strategy to tackle lists that are too long for too long
Most people struggle with time management, getting things done, sticking with tasks to the end. It’s almost like it’s hard-wired into the human psyche evolutionary-style! As Gen Z’s you’re faced with overwhelming amounts of data and are dealing with more in-person and online interactions than any generation before you. Yet little if any time is spent on teaching you how to navigate through the stuff, writing down what needs to be done to achieve a goal and using strategies to check things off the list and get things done!
When it comes to planning to find paid work or start a career, it’s no different. The best way to start is to make a list! First off write down everything that you think needs to be done from signing up to an online course to signing up to an app, from sourcing articles about your topic to finding someone to mentor you and hold you accountable for checking things off your list. For more information about kickstarting your career, check out “Making Millions, How Ordinary Teens Can Transform into High Earners and How You Can Too“, available on Amazon.
Once you’ve written down everything you can think of to achieve what you want, do the following:
- Check that everything on the list needs to be there – delete it if it doesn’t. Ask yourself what are the key tasks that will move you towards what you want to achieve? Not relevant to achieving your primary goal? Delete it from the list. Not urgent? Delete it from your list. Can be done tomorrow? Delete it from today’s list.
- Scan the list that’s left, are you trying to tackle too many disparate goals at once? Be realistic about what you can get done. Choose one or two goals or projects. Remove from the list goals that can best be left to when you’ve mastered the first one. Stick them on a secondary list that you will tackle when the first list gets done. Ask yourself: what are the most important things to get done today to help me move the needle? What can wait until tomorrow?
- With the list that’s left, get some quick wins to motivate yourself. It’s encouraging to tick things off your list so do a few easy tasks first. Make a quick telephone call, tick. Sign up to that free writing course, tick. Download an app, tick. Constantly review the tasks you’re doing to ensure that they are moving you towards achieving your ultimate goal such as finding paid work. For more insight into motivation, click here.
- With the list that’s left, tackle each item to the best of your ability. Don’t aim for perfection because it’s a sure way to prevent you from tackling anything. Ensure that what you produce is accurate, even if it skips on some of the detail, whether you’re writing an article for a blog or taking notes on how to set up shop on an eCommerce platform.
- Don’t panic if some things remain on your list for weeks. Eventually they will either get done as a matter of some urgency or they will be removed from the list completely as items that are no longer valid for the goal in mind.
- It’s a fact that some things on the list will diminish in importance over time with the result that quite often you can remove things from the list that are no longer key to achieving your goals. Cross them off the list as you go along.
- With experience your to-do list will become shorter. Many successful entrepreneurs have up to three things max on their list every day. Ask yourself, what’s the one thing I can do today to move me towards my goal? Tackle that item first.
- I write my to-do list the night before. That way I can do my easy-wins very quickly when I wake up then get started on my main task for the day.
- Forget multi-tasking. I say this a lot! Multi-tasking makes us less productive. Focus on one thing, give it your full attention, do it to the best of your ability then tick it off the list.
- Check your social media at set times throughout your weekdays. It’s too easy to get trapped in a never-ending spiral of replying, videoing, photographing, deleting, and watching videos and then wonder where the time has gone.
- Take care of yourself. Remember to congratulate yourself when you get things done. Don’t become so obsessed with your list that it takes all the fun and enjoyment from your life. Keep one word in mind always. B-a-l-a-n-c-e. Balance your to-do list with seeing your friends, exercising, eating well, playing guitar, listening to music or reading a book (insert hobby of choice), so you don’t become burned out. Ask yourself: did I get enough fresh air this week? How are my relationships with my friends and family this week?
We used to live in Norway – where being outdoors is considered vital for your health. Getting outside, looking at the sky, breathing the fresh air can change your outlook on your problems as well as keep you physically fit. If you feel yourself becoming anxious because of your list or for whatever reason, go outside, walk, run or simply take your shoes off and feel your feet connect to the earth. Take deep breaths and disconnect. You’ll feel so much better and more confident when you get back to your projects.
As always we want to know how you’re getting on and what you’re struggling with. If you have a burning question about getting things done, write to us at [email protected] and we will put a post out to answer your query or write a blog about it (no names disclosed!).