I have been converted! No…I am not referring to my religious beliefs. I no longer feel validation or importance by having a long to do list.
It is really interesting how this conversion took place. As recently as last year I would come home from work exhausted and proudly let my beautiful wife know that I started the day with 30 items on my task list and got through more than 20 of them. I would wait for the “wow” reaction or look of pride from her. She wisely would simply nodded and smiled. Not the reaction I expected.
At the same time, I began doing some more reading on working more efficiently. I realized that the goal should not be accomplishing alot on a large to do list. The goal should be to make the best use of my time at work so I can spend more time with my family, my friends, my community, the Los Angeles Kings and my other personal interests. I had to then focus my work time on what is most important and most urgent. Anything that did not meet that criteria had to go away.
Here are the steps on my path.
1. I took a hard look at my to do list and began to pass on or eliminate things that did not meet the most important or most urgent criteria.
2. I found I could use technology tools such as Microsoft Outlook and Remember the Milk and my iphone to more effectively keep track of my tasks. I can also use those tools to remove to do items or pass on tasks to my staff to make the best use of my day. If you do not have “a staff”, consider a personal assistant or outsource tasks. Please see my blog post on the topic – Who ya going to call.
3. Things are neither important nor urgent now don’t have a place on my to-do list.
What an epiphany! My task list suddenly went to 30 items down to 10 to 15 items depending on the day. Our CPA firm clients further benefit by receiving faster and more complete responses from both me and my staff. I think this system will be great during tax season when my client meeting schedule gets compacted.
Here are some more resources on how to eliminate tasks that don’t meet the important / urgent criteria:
7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Steven Covey) – http://www.businessinsider.com/stephen-coveys-7-habits-of-highly-effective-people-2012-7
Getting Things Done (David Allen) – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Getting_Things_Done
What To Do When There’s Too Much to Do (Laura Stack) – http://www.theproductivitypro.com/whattodo/
Size doesn’t matter when it comes to a to-do list. Once you are able to do what counts you will find your Life Less Taxing.