Here are the top three directives to use as you tackle your “to do” list today:
- Complete the tasks that you are dreading most FIRST. Your mind will then be clear to focus on the other tasks in a more positive and energetic way.
- Focus ONLY on the tasks that directly impact achieving your most important goals. You need the highest return on your time investment.
- Don’t get mired down in the volume of tasks, you will never complete them all. Analysis paralysis is your enemy.
Dwight Eisenhower said, “What is important is seldom urgent, and what is urgent is seldom important.” He designed a long admired system for determining which tasks matter most:
If a task has been on your list for more than two weeks, it is probably not urgent or important; delegate it, deal with it or cross it off of your list.
Working through your “to do” list is a bit like Chess. People will constantly put obstacles in front of you. You have two choices, remove the obstacle or work around it. The one difference is, with your “to do” list, you need to make your decisions swiftly and execute them immediately.
Set specific times to check e-mails, meet with colleagues and return phone calls. Stick to that schedule! It is tough to do but you must. There is a reason that there are 9,210,000 entries on Google about how e-mail kills productivity. Disconnect when you are working on an important task. Close your door, close your e-mail and turn off your phone! You will find that you accomplish tasks much more quickly and the quality of the work is exponentially better.