Do you think that your to-do list is really efficient? It’s one of the first questions I ask my clients because to-do lists are essential when it comes to getting rid of overwhelming feelings and achieving your goals. Making an efficient and durable to-do list is really key. If you don’t know how to do it, well, you’ll end up discouraged, and you will lose your motivation.
There are three common mistakes that you are doing when building your to-do list:
1: You are putting too many tasks in your week, compared to the time that you have. For example, you have two hours on Monday to work on your to-do list. But instead of putting tasks that are actually going to take you two hours, you are putting tasks in that would take you five hours.
2: Prioritizing the wrong task. You are putting your focus where it shouldn’t be. We will discuss what an “URGENT TASK” is versus an “IMPORTANT TASK” a little later.
3: Estimating the time that the task is actually going to take. This means that you’re going to put a task in your calendar, and block time for maybe one hour, but the task is going to take you two hours.
These three mistakes are impacting your mind and your body. First, you will lose your motivation; You are going to try so hard to get everything done, that you will put all your energy and your effort into it, but you’re not seeing any results, which will lead you to simply give up. The second thing is you are going to start asking yourself questions about your ability to be able to do everything. You will ask yourself, why is this not working? Maybe I’m not being productive? Maybe I’m not good enough. It’s my fault; if other people can do it; Why can’t I? And the third thing that can happen is you feel like a failure, “I’ve tried so hard to do it all with no success. You may be thinking of just giving up, and you just don’t know how to move forward, how to get rid of that feeling of being overwhelmed. And honestly, I don’t want you to end here. If you feel like that, there are ways to get your to-do list right on track.
I’M GOING TO GIVE YOU THREE TIPS THAT YOU WILL NEED TO START IMPLEMENTING THIS WEEK
So, the first step will be being realistic about the time that you have. I want you to look at your week on your calendar, and just look at it and tell yourself on Monday, “oh, I have one hour I can work on my to-do list”. On Tuesday, “I’m full, I cannot do it”. But on Wednesday,” I have two hours”. And on Friday “I also have one hour”, which takes four hours in total in your week. I want you to block it off. And I want you to put a name on it like time to work on my to-do list. I want you to put it in your calendar because everything that you put in your calendar, makes you accountable for it. And that’s something that is really important. So, what happens if I don’t set a specific time aside? Well, the day goes by and at the end of the day you’re like “Oh, I didn’t do what I needed to do”. Yes, you didn’t do what you needed to do because you did blogs during that time block instead of the 5 small tasks you could have done, you ended up going down a rabbit hole and eating up all your time. You need to understand that blocking time is a time-saver for you. And I want you to start doing it TODAY if you haven’t done it before.
UNDERSTANDING THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN AN URGENT TASK, AND AN IMPORTANT TASK:
Second, I want you to pre-read tasks really well. Which means two things, you need to understand what is different between what is URGENT, and what is IMPORTANT. Something urgent is something where if you’re not doing it, there is going to be big consequences. For example, if you don’t complete this project on time, then you could lose your job. That’s a big consequence. Versus things that are IMPORTANT. Important tasks don’t have the same consequences, or are consequences that are much lower, which means that you need to do them because it’s necessary to do them. But if you don’t do it this week, this day, no one is going to die. And I want you now to take your to-do lists; next to each task that you have just, put if it is urgent or if it is important. And I want you to always prioritize what is urgent.
When you are done with this urgent stuff, just go down to the important things. If you are really nailing down the difference between what is urgent and what is important, you can also work on two other categories, and these categories are DELEGATING and ELIMINATING.
DELEGATING AND ELIMINATING.
So, let’s start with eliminating. I’m sure you have on your to-do list stuff that you need to do for the month and that you didn’t do. If it has been more than three months that you didn’t do this task, just eliminate it because you’re not going to do it. If it comes back, in a few months, just put it again on your to-do list. But for now, it is not your priority, and you have no intention of doing it.
About delegating, there are some tasks that you need to do. But if someone else is doing it in your place, it’s going to be better, and it will save you time. So, for instance, you have a house cleaner, or a gardener, or someone who is going to do a small setup for your businesses. These are all tasks that you can delegate, you can even delegate some of the chores to your husband or to your kids. But you need to make sure you understand which tasks you can delegate.
WHERE DID MY DAY GO???????
So, the last tip for today will be about estimating. A lot of you are not estimating the time that a task will actually take effect. When your task is recurring, you actually know how long it’s going to take you. For instance, you’re used to decluttering your house 20 minutes a day. So, you know, it’s going to take 20 minutes, So put the 20 minutes in your calendar every day. But when it comes to a task that you have never done before, it becomes much more complicated to calculate an estimated time. But I want you to take this estimated time and multiply it by 1.5 or by two. Because I want you to make sure that you are putting in enough time to accomplish this task.
Usually, when we don’t do that, we over-estimate, or under-estimate, and this can cause us to feel really not motivated because we think, “oh, maybe I was not productive enough”. Or “maybe I was not good enough”. No, this is not the issue. You were productive, you were good enough, but you didn’t plan the right time to do it. I want you to be realistic about the time that is taking you to do each task in your calendar.
I want you to create a small task after estimating them, and list what that task was. So if it’s about decluttering, then you will label it as a decluttering session, if it’s about gardening, a food gardening session, I want you to be really specific in this time-blocking. And I don’t want you to put too much pressure on yourself. Because the first time that you are doing some stuff, you’re not going to be efficient, you’re not going to be productive, because productivity is coming from mastery. As the more you’re going to do it, the more you will be efficient, and the more you will have time to do something else.
Hey you! I’m glad you are here!
I’m Ysaline, a French time management coach who helps purpose-driven female professionals -just like you- master their time, be more productive and make life-changing money.
I used be the hard-working girl next door, constantly stressed and tired until I couldn’t take it anymore.
It took me years to get where I’m today.
But one thing is sure: making time to find your path, plan your goals, take action to change your life is within your reach.
The last years, I have watched my clients’ lives flourish in unexpected ways. Even if you’re not 100% there for yourself, I’ve got your back!
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