Pin It


To Accomplish More Do Less

If you are like most of us, you have an endless supply of tasks that cross your desk every day. Some of those tasks may or may not be worth doing. And it’s frustrating because things just keep piling up – don’t they?

Sometimes you wish you had a little fairy godmother telling you exactly what you should do first, then what to do second and so on, so you don’t have to play the guessing game anymore.

Well, I’ve put together a simple solution. This system might not be earth-shaking, and you might have heard different variations of it before, but the gold is in executing it exactly how I’m presenting it to you.

You see, the foundation of any time management system revolves around making and using lists. Why? Simply because you cannot carry it all in your head.

The second piece to managing your time better is knowing how much your time is worth.

And the third is creating your to do list based on what you want your business to be — your vision, purpose, what you intent to accomplish, goals, priorities and of course the actions you will be taking to reach your destination. If you are not clear on where you are going and how are you going to get there?, how would you know which tasks are worth doing?, and how would you know you’ve arrived? Lemme tell you, even the most innovative time management system will just feel like more stuff to do.

I once read a research finding that the human mind is capable of staying intently focused on a single task for up to 2 hours at a time.

Below is a very simple TO-DO to Done system so you can take advantage of those 2-hour chunks. If you put into practice this straightforward system on a daily basis, I promise you, it will change your life.

So, here is how you can accomplish more by doing less –

1. Write a new to do list every day. You may have a leftover list from yesterday. Don’t use it! Start with a fresh sheet of paper and write a new to-do list every single day. Even if you write the same things every day.

2. What should you put on your list? First, put no more than seven items on the list. It doesn’t matter that you have 100 things you want to get done that day, you put no more than seven items for that day. And you are going to create your to-do list from what you want your business to be – your vision, purpose, intention etc… The tasks that end up on your list might not be the most important things, but they should be the seven items that you plan to do that day. Get it?

3. What should you do first? You can start with the easiest task, the most important, or the most difficult, it does not matter. What matters is that you prioritize the list in the order in which you plan to accomplish the tasks. That’s it. Don’t put the list in order and then decide you are starting with task number 3. Prioritize the list in the order of importance you plan to tackle the list 1 (being the most important) through 6 (least important).

4. Don’t expect to finish all seven items, don’t you worry your pretty little head whether or not you’re going to get them all done. Put your seven items on the list, however, start with the first one, work on that task until it’s complete or until you’re not going to work on it anymore. Don’t skip around.

So, if your day ends before you complete item number one, then that’s just the way it is. Just follow the system.

For instance, if your number one item is, “Write weekly blog post” then your action item is going to be, “Write blog post,” or “Write 20 minutes about my blog post,” or “Write for two hours” on the blog post” and then move on to the next item on the list.

Recap,

You are only going to have seven items on your to-do list. Don’t carry over what was on the list the day before. You might have the same items, its okay, just write a new list. And preferably work on that activity until completion or until time is up.

That’s it, that’s the system.

It’s an amazing system that I promise, if you use it will change everything about what you get done on a daily basis.

Imagine how much less chaotic your days will be. From now on you’ll know exactly what you are going to do each and every day. No more guessing. And what’s best is that you know for sure you’ll be focusing on the tasks that will move your business forward and make you money. Isn’t it great?

Okay, yes, you may still have a gigantic list of things that you want to get done. That’s OK; Keep that list separate. Today, you only need to focus on your seven things!

If you liked this article please like it + share it. :-)

25 Comments

  1. This is a fantastic time system. It is making my life easier each time I make certain I use it. It is so easy to get caught in the meaningless. But thank goodness I’ve got you to remind me to keep my eye on the prize. Thank you mucho!

    • De nada! You Rock!

  2. Hi Yvette,

    This is my system almost exactly! I don’t put a limit on the number of things on my list because on several days there are things that I know I can accomplish in a matter of minutes as opposed to hours. Otherwise, I wholeheartedly agree with what you’re doing. And it does work!

    Monique

    • Woot, woot awesome Monique!

  3. I actually do this but with a much smaller list. I only put 3 things on my list. 🙂 Sometimes I get through them all and I have trouble finding a little something more to do- but for me 3 is my limit. I feel accomplished when I complete it and I feel less overwhelmed.

    • Awesome, Sammi! Its amazing how the stress level melts off when you know exactly what you need to do to move your business forward.

  4. I was just saying to myself that I needed a system to get myself organized! I find that I have so many balls in the air, including being a mom. Then to top it off I love to be social and where I live the social life is quite demanding. Hence having a super system that I can put into place right away helps me so much!!! I love putting the idea of two hours of time to focus on a task, really easy to do. Thanks for this post.

    • Oh, I know what it is lilke to juggle little one’s + building a biz. That is why I love my systems makes life so much easier & fun 🙂

  5. I’m a list-maker for sure. And I do one each day on whatever paper I have handy….you should see the notebooks and envelope back collection I have. The feeling of crossing something off is great! Thank you for the tips and for reminding me to just keep it simple.

    • 😀 I hear ya..oh you are funny, Stormy! Whatever gets the job done 😉

  6. Thank you for this reminder, Yvette! I. Love. Lists. I often use google docs, and the little notepad on my phone to carry organized info and action steps with me. That way, while I’m in my little feminine bliss, dynamically changing throughout the day, I can come back home to my “vortex” and stay focused on what I’m in the middle of creating. I love the new piece about not having to finish what was there the day before. Ahhh…freedom! Cheers and thank you for sharing your system. 🙂

    • You are so welcome …”my little feminine bliss”…love it, Kendra!

  7. Yvette. I am going to try this. I gave up lists when I started doing David Allen’s GTD system, which is writing to dos on little pieces of paper. When I use system it works great, but lately I have so much going on I need a simpler process. As a leadership coach I get this challenge with my clients all the time, so it will be fun to try it out with them as well. I like also the idea of doing something to completion. I am very bad at flitting around from task to task and I know that multi-tasking actually makes us less effective. Thanks for the reminders!

    • Laura, gtd system is crazy stuff, you need a system to do the system…LOL Try it out and by all means share it with your clients. Just report back 🙂 let me know how it all works out – deal?

  8. Thanks for the 7 priority list idea, I have a tendency to write out everything I need to do and carry over to the next day or just keep right on working which may be why I put in so many hours. Ha.Ha.

    • You’re welcome! Its a good idea to do a brain purge though so don’t stop doing that it really helps to gain clarity and more energy to keep going.

  9. I knew I loved my lists for a reason! My notebooks tend to be a series of lists, which DO keep me focused. I love the 7 items cap though- sometimes what I do is make a SUPER MASTER list of EVERYTHING I want to do in a work week, and then draw from there to make smaller, more bite sized lists. This totally reinforces that! I love your simple, digestible advice that moves us towards less work and more money. Cheers!

    • Awww….thank you so much Ellen! You Rock! Hey, love to see your pretty face…see if you can get your picture up one of these days.

  10. So many blogs this week keep pointing in the direction of needing to better manage my time. Your’s, however, does a great job in helping me get more done in the time I have. I am definitely going to use this I’ll let you know how it goes. Thanks for sharing.

    • Laurie, yup, that’s it getting the important (aka cashola generating tasks) done in the time you have! Please do, report back would love to hear how it works out for you.

  11. I love lists. I have been using lists for years. I think I even put my homework in a list when I was in grammar school! Yes, really, I think I did. I use my “To Do” list and refer to it always. I don’t use it exactly the way that you describe, but I can definitely attest that it works. It’s also useful for ensuring that work doesn’t slip through the cracks and as a way to keep track of all the action items that need to get done. I do like your idea of limiting some of the action items to a particular amount of time. I’m going to try that! Thank you.

  12. Your message…I hate doing lists. But your article really helps me see how helpful they can be and also doable ! I really like your suggestion
    about starting with a new list each day. That way, you can re-access what really is a priority. I so appreciate your articles Yvette !

  13. Yvette,
    I am so the Queen of list making….but my issue is…I forget to focus on the things I did NOT get done instead of patting myself on the back for what I DID get done. I know, it’s not the way to be…but I have become much better about reminding myself of this…so thanks for your validation that I should NOT worry my little head….Sound Advice.

    Laura Roeder recommends this service for creating your To Do List. I prefer old fashioned hand scribbling on paper…but for those of you more in touch and in love with your technology check it out
    http://teuxdeux.com/

    Thanks for the other tips as well, this was VERY valuable!

  14. Great, simple and easy system to get things done! Thanks for sharing! I love the idea of just listing 7 on the daily list – will be giving it a try!

    xo,
    Tina

  15. My challenge is that I still leave way to much in my head, and I know it leads me to getting untracked easily. I used to be one those people that could store everything in my noggin without a problem. Somedays I can’t even remember to give the dog water, never mind doing all it takes raise kids and run a business. I like your approach here because it seems reasonable and effective, and 7 items or two hours isn’t daunting. Plus I love starting the day with a clean slate!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *