Most of us have a list a mile long of things we feel like we HAVE to get done. You probably have tasks in different buckets; housework, business work, family work, extracurricular work, volunteer work, and the list goes on. Do you ever feel like your task list is holding you back from getting done the things that really matter? This article will walk you through 6 questions to teach you how to improve your efficiency..
If you’ve never heard of the Pareto principle, it’s this concept that 80% of one scenario is due to the efforts of 20% of another scenario. For instance, 80% of your business income is due to 20% of your clients. For this article, let’s say that 80% of your accomplishments are due to 20% of your essential tasks. Does that mean you should get rid of your other 80% of tasks? Maybe.
Take Time To Assess the Situation
It may seem counter-productive to slow down long enough to read an article about being more productive. And even ludicrous to consider that your thinking might have something to do with your productivity, especially if your solution to every challenge is to work harder and longer.
But how much sense does it make to keep turning up the effort dial when you just keep adding more to your list of to-dos? The harder you work, the behinder you get. It’s exhausting! You’ve already read this far, so indulge me at the risk of wasting just a few more minutes in an effort to be more productive.
Task Priority Exercise
To help you with this exercise, I’ve created a free, downloadable “Clean Up Your To-Do List” worksheet. DOWNLOAD IT HERE.
First, identify your top three projects that aren’t getting done.
For each project, answer these questions:
- What is the benefit of getting this project done? If there is little or no benefit to completing the project, why are you doing it? Take it off your list. No need to continue with these questions. If you have determined that the benefit will be greater than the effort to complete this project, move on to question 2.
- What does it cost you to have this project incomplete? If there is no cost in having the project incomplete, should it even be on your list? See question 1. But if it costs you too much to leave it incomplete, proceed to question 3.
- What are the steps to getting this done? Write down everything that will need to happen to complete the project. Then put these in order.
- By when will you take each of these steps? Give yourself a deadline for each step.
- By when will you complete this project? Give yourself a deadline for the project.
- Don’t keep this a secret. Tell someone what you are up to. Who will you ask to hold you accountable to these commitments?
Now you have a plan and accountability which can help you to become more productive with less time invested. Review your plan every day to support your success and overcome your resistance to taking actions.
If you take the time to do this for each of your top projects, you will become far more precise about the actual value and importance of these projects. This clarity will give you access to the internal motivation and energy needed to take purposeful action. And rather than feeling burdened by a list of what you must do, you will have a sense of purpose as you take the steps toward success.
Do you need help getting your thoughts to prioritize those tasks? Set up a free 30 minute discovery session and let me help you get started.
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