For many of us, having a To Do List is our way of remembering what we need to do and crossing items off the list once they have been achieved. Your list might be the top three things you want to achieve this morning, or it might be a list of everything you want to do today.
When working with clients, I’ve seen To Do Lists which include items that can’t possibly be achieved in a day. Sometimes people show me their To Do Lists spanning weeks or months with a bottomless pit of items.
There comes a point where a To Do List becomes more of an Ideas List, a brainstorm of items you’d like to get done, maybe, sometime, one day. You might have a list like this that never seems to get done.
Scrap Your To Do List
My advice is to bin your To Do List, that’s right, to scrap it completely, and start again. But, this time, I’d like you to create an Achievement List with all the things you’d like to get done. The simple act of changing the name of your list from “To Do” to “Achievements” mentally reinforces the good feeling you get when a task is done.
Then I’d like you to look at all the items on your Achievement List and group activities where possible. You may need to rewrite your Achievement List a few times to put things in groups to start with, but this becomes easier over time.
For example, I like to make phone calls on my walks with Missy. We have about an hours walk twice a day and this enables me to use my time twice. I still take in the scenery and fresh air and get to play with Missy, but I’m also crossing off items on my Achievement List at the same time.
Another example would be to post letters on the way to the supermarket. Both tasks need doing and if I combine them into one journey it becomes an efficient use of my time and my petrol.
Order Your Achievements
I also try to prioritise items on my Achievement List. To do this, I use a Time Intensity Grid and allocate a value to each task, whether it is a high or low intensity task using lots of energy, strength or brain power, or a high or low time task using minutes, hours or days of my time. It can help to annotate each task with HIHT, HILT, LIHT or LILT so you can prepare yourself for how long or how intense each task will be.
For example, my trip to the supermarket and posting my letters would count as a LIHT task, because although it’s easy, it takes time, especially at the moment where there are sometimes long queues to go into the supermarket.
Add Times For Your Achievements
If you have a lot of tasks on your Achievement List it can be helpful to divide your day into blocks of 15 minutes and allocate blocks of time to each task. For example, my walk with Missy takes about an hour, so that’s 4 x 15 minutes blocks of time.
I can add to this by allocating a time of day to this task, for example Missy likes a morning walk, so I can allocate 9am to 10am for our first walk. To use my time twice, I will often pre-prepare some phone calls to make during this hour as well.
Our second walk usually takes place just before an evening meal and we often meet friends on this walk to share our day and catch up on news, socially distancing of course.
Try This For Yourself
At the beginning, I encouraged you to bin your To Do List and change it into an Achievement List. I’m pleased to say my advice and tips have worked for many friends and clients over the years. I recently gave a 4Sight at a 4Networking business networking meeting talking about Achievement Lists and Using Your Time Twice.
The 4Sight was very well received and I had a 121 with one of the attendees who commented, “If nothing else, that bit (about Achievement Lists) has made this 121 worthwhile”. So, I encourage you to try this for yourself and turn your To Do tasks into Achievements.
Rachael Chiverton, Focus Guru – Giving You Your Time, Your Way