I’ll give you a warning. This post is a bit on the hard truth side. If you want to read something uplifting don’t read a Lord’s blog in the New Year!
Resolution: Clarity or Disparity?
January is easily the month of ‘to do’ lists. We start out with such good intentions and make resolutions. Do we keep them? 🙂
I’ll throw some statistics at you… the chance of you keeping your New Year’s resolution through the first week?
That means that 1 in 4 of us don’t make it past the first week! By the time a month has gone by (so about now) only 64% of us are keeping firm to our resolutions. And I bet we feel a bit smug about it (its OK we’re human)… yet according to Forbes only 8% of us will ever fulfil our good intentions!
That means only 8 out of 100 people will do those things that they feel strongly enough to say at the beginning of the year THIS needs to change (gym’s and fitness centres look to your Direct Debits!)
So if that is the chance of us achieving personal goals we feel strongly about… what chance does our business to do list have?
TO DO: Write a TO DO list
Most ‘to do’s’ aren’t really objectives. They are ways for us to feel like we are exerting control over our environment and to move something from our head to something physical.
So we can forget about them.
Or so we feel productive rather than be productive.
Harsh truth maybe but I think something we can all relate to.
(by the way writing a to list should NEVER be on a to do list)
Good advice from Jack Palance! Although we don’t have the luxury of only doing one thing in business what a lot of to do lists do is overwhelm us from the important tasks.
“Sorry but that to do list will never be done.”
More things will add to it and some will fall off as circumstances change.
Scan through your to do list and ask what ONE thing makes a real difference. Quickly work out what that difference will be in tangible terms (more opportunities, more revenue, more time etc) Then get it done. Don’t try and get rid of your to do list as soon as possible. Get that ONE thing done.
Then repeat. Get another ONE thing done.
The way I look at to do lists is that they are a list of ONE things. Each makes a real difference. The sense of accomplishment of being productive and the benefits of the tangible results fire me up and moves me on to the next ONE thing. Which means I get more done.
The Power of ONE
Before Christmas I admit I fell into the trap of a massive to do list, trying to get things done before the holidays. Did I manage it? Not really… I made progress on everything but didn’t finish anything. My ONE resolution this year is to not fall into that trap again. Since focusing on only getting one thing at a time I’ve managed to get more done with better results.
“My to do list was getting in the way.”
Rather than focus on ONE thing I was getting distracted by everything. Treating my to do list as only getting ONE thing done today meant that I got more done in a day as the amount of time the task takes usually doesn’t take me all day.
I know I’m stating the obvious but we all fall into the trap of trying to get too much done at once. I also know that this approach isn’t right for all people and certainly isn’t right all the time. If your to do list is growing. If you don’t feel like you are getting anything done, focus on ONE thing… and everything that needs to get done will get done.
“Better to get 1 thing done than 10 things half done”
How do you handle to do lists? Have you ever focused on ONE thing? What tips can you share for a more productive 2014?