Tuesday, September 3, 2013

What Makes your To-Do List Today?

Lists, lists, lists! There are To-Do lists, Grocery lists, and Goal lists in front of me today. Last night while I should have been sleeping, I was writing in my head a list for next Thursday. When this happens to me, I scoot out of our bedroom and actually write the list on paper, hoping it will let my brain relax so that sleep can return. Are you a List Master, too?

When my work days as a fiber artist are in full-throttle, I truly count on my To-Do Lists. Writing down a plan for the day is a fantastic tool for a creative entrepreneur. When I formalize the cascading options, requests, and tasks for each day, I can hold myself accountable in specific ways, and that frees up space in every day for creativity. Having been self-employed for years now, this is one secret to my success!

A question I often ask myself is, "Should the task I'm thinking about be on today's list, or on the list of some future day?"

If you are a list-master, do you feel excited when you look at today's To-Do? Ideally, you should. I know there will be dreadful items on some lists, and my advice on those days is to tackle those items in your highest-energy part of the day. For me, that would be first thing in the morning, after my second cup of coffee. By then, the world has woken up and most folks are available by phone or email. Reaching out to others is often a component of key To-Do tasks. My philosophy regarding actions that are necessary but don't excite me is to get it done, cross it off, and the clear the way for your exciting tasks!

There is another benefit to be a list-maker. Knowing what you want to accomplish helps you say "No Thanks" to all of the rest! As your day unfolds, you may be asked to do something unexpected. Happens all the time to me. Or, as your day unfolds you may dream up a bold new action that sounds fantastic! Either of these additional items could distract you from your consciously written To-Do list for today. Here's what I do:
  • Take a pause
  • Take a breath
  • Make a decision
  • Write it down for today or say out loud "Not Today"

It is important to know what will make your list today as well as what will not. I am a people-pleasing person, so learning to gently say no to myself and others is a skill that is important to practice. It has been liberating for me to learn to say, "What you are asking of me won't fit on my list today. Can I get back to you about a future date?"

I love saying that!! Do you say that often enough?

Next on my list is going to the grocery store. That's another great kind of list to follow...as best as I can, anyway.

Thanks for stopping by,

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