How to create a to-do list for massive action
Most people tend to prepare a to-do list on Mondays with the best intentions to follow through on completing tasks on their plate to feel more accomplished. However, I have found that Mondays are the worst day to get organized for the week. The week already started. Here, I walk you through the most effective process to prepare a to-do list for massive action. With these steps, you have an excellent chance of following through.
I strongly suggest that you organize your projects and tasks on Fridays. Though I understand that some experts advise to do them on Sunday, I want my weekend for me, so I prefer to go over the gruesome task of setting to-dos on Fridays!
The upside of doing this at the end of the work week is that the process serves as (1) a stress release and (2) as an evaluation for the week. I’ve done for decades my weekly plans and the corresponding list of pending tasks on Fridays because I can not enjoy my weekend if I have things rumbling in my head. Also, all the events are fresher in my head on a Friday than on a Sunday. On a Sunday I can be less critical of myself and settle. On Fridays, we tend to be sharp and fed-up, so it’s the best day to make a list of purpose & write some scary action taking items. Yes, those massive actions that we know are going to make an impact in our lives and the lives of others.
5 Steps to create a to-do list for impact
These are the steps that I follow and teach to discard the overwhelmed and stay focus. And if you prefer the audio version here is the replay of 5 minutes Facebook Live I did explaining my thinking process.
(1) Find a place that inspires you to sit down and write (you can do it on the computer or iPad, but there’s magic in pen to paper).
(2) Put a timer for five or ten minutes and write everything that is on your mind including the laundry, paying bills, and all those things that either need to happen to give you peace of mind or need to happen to get someone off your back (in any event you will get peace). This process called a brain-dump will help you empty your Psychic RAM* to have space in your brain for the creative juices to start flowing.
(3) Circle three things that are very important for you to accomplish in the next week. These three items cannot be related to chores (i.e. laundry, picking up kids from school) or busy work like replying to emails and posting on Social Media. I want you to circle things that are going to impact your life. In the list, you should have those actions that you have been postponing that are going to upgrade you!
But that is so simple? Yes, it is that simple. First of all, emptying your brain will allow you to enjoy your weekend. Second, deciding on one thing to do first thing on Monday will empower you and make you accountable to follow through with your plans.
(4) To amplify the effect of your list, you must decide on a date of completion for each of the three items. When you put a date and write that action in your planners or set a reminder on your smartphone, your brain starts realizing that this is a high priority, and unconsciously, it will start to look for ways to make those activities happen.
How long will it take to prepare a to-do list for productivity?
It’s going to be longer to decide on doing it than writing it. Once the pen starts moving, you will be surprised at how fast you are done and determined on accomplishing some scary things.
(5) Once you decide on you 3-action-items for the week, discard the reminding items. Don’t even look at them. Why? Just by doing the brain-dump (writing everything), you will trick your brain into thinking that you are done with all of them. And when you redo your list only the essential will come up.
* Psychic Ram is referred to by David Allen of David Co. as the busy-ness that happens in the unconscious mind when there are too many seemingly pending tasks to be completed, which is associated with stress and overwhelmed. According to Allen, author of Getting Things Done, these tasks occupy the short-term memory space that’s hanging on to, “Oh I need to … would … could – oh I got to … Oh that’s right, I need to …” whatever.