The best relationship you will ever have…is with your to-do list
Think about it: it’s always there by your side, it doesn’t talk back and it will NEVER leave you! The catch however, is you must commit to your relationship with your to-do list and accept that it will indeed be with you always.
Before you decide to take the plunge however, let’s have a look at the benefits that this long-term partnership could bring you by going right back to the beginning. The time when you were both so full of promise and excitement for what the future may hold together. If your to-do list had an ad in the personal pages this is what I think it would say:
“Well organised entity seeks loyal companion to settle down with. I am very dependable, easily adaptable and will always be at your side. I’ll never forget anything you tell me, in fact I’ll even remind you about things, and I’ll make you feel great when you get them done. If you honour and respect me, and accept me as your life partner, I promise to keep you on your chosen path, give you more clarity and direction around where you want to go, keep you focused on the things that are important to you, eliminate stress and give you more time to do the things you love with the people you love.”
I don’t know about you, but that’s a relationship I certainly want to sign up for! Here’s the problem however, so often we don’t commit to our to-do lists and we constantly try to break up with them, even though we know deep down that it will never end. So rather than having them as a tool to move us forward they keep us stuck feeling like we’re never fully achieving what we want because there’s always something else to do.
I want you to sit and think for a minute about what life would be like if you did just accept the fact that your to-do list will never end. If you did make peace with the notion that you can only do so much in one day and if you don’t do it all the world will not end. And if you did celebrate everything you got done at the end of each day and congratulated yourself for all of your efforts. What would that be like? Do you think you’d feel motivated to get more done the next day?
So, are you ready to commit? Please repeat after me:
I, [INSERT NAME], take you, To-do list, to be my life partner. To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.
Now as we know, long-term relationships require on-going work, so I have compiled a list of simple steps to make sure you get the most out of yours and live happily ever after:
1. Dedicate time to write your to-do list at the end of each day for the next day
2. Prioritise each task using the following system:
a. Those that must absolutely get done
b. Those that should get done and it would be helpful if they did
c. Those that could get done but it doesn’t matter too much if they don’t
d. Those that you can delegate
e. Those that you can delete
3. Be disciplined in completing the tasks in order of their priority – do not allow yourself to move onto a ‘b’ task until all of the ‘a’ tasks are complete
4. Make a point of crossing each task off as you do it (this makes you feel good and motivates you to do more)
5. If you do something that isn’t on the list, add it and cross it off immediately. This not only enhances your feeling of achievement but also gives you a realistic overview of how you spent your day
6. Although you need to be disciplined about the priorities, do also allow yourself to be a bit flexible. Inevitably things will come up that you didn’t plan for, so decide which is more important and focus on that until it’s done, and then return to your list
Now I know these steps are probably not revolutionary to you, but a reminder is always helpful, and the main point I want you to take away is this:
Commit to a life-long partnership with your to-do list and accept that it will never end