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To-Do Lists That Work

Why Your Standard To-Do Lists Aren’t Enough

For many of my coaching clients, the typical To-Do Lists are an important tool in their daily/weekly/monthly efforts to stay organized and on top of all their tasks and to keep their projects organized.

I’m often asked if there’s a To-Do List style that works best. My answer, while not meant to be glib can come off that way. “Yes, the style that works best is the style that works for you.”.  Sure, I have some general pointers that I give about how to organize and use your To-Do Lists, but that’s a subject for another post.

Today, I want to talk about why your standard To-Do List isn’t enough and how you should consider upgrading it. But, before I do that, let me ask you this. Where do you get the most energy? And, when do you do your best work? Is it when you’re working on some task or project that you have to do? Or, is it when you’re working on a task or project that has you totally excited and/or brings you great satisfaction?

Granted I don’t necessarily know you, but I do know that most every one I’ve ever asked says that they get the most energy and do their best work when they’re working on a task or a project that excites them and brings them great satisfaction. So, why not upgrade your To-Do List by including your I Get ToDo Section?

Upgrading Your To-Do Lists

The standard To-Do Lists are must do lists. The Upgraded To-Do List still includes the things you must do but it also includes your I Get To Do Section. What goes in this section?

  1. Things you love about your job (learning more about x, working with so and so, solving customers challenges, etc.)
  2. Benefits of your job (i.e., bring home a paycheck, travel, exposure to interesting people, etc.)

Ok, so maybe you’re not happy in your job, at the moment. So, your first response is, “I don’t have any thing for this section.” Take a breath, close your eyes and take another deeper breath. Think about all the people you work with, the products you deal with, the places you go, the vendors you deal with, the people you collaborate with inside and outside of your company/team. Focus on the ones you enjoy. What motivates you? What do you value about them? Then create your I Get To Do Section.

Once you’ve created your I Get To Do Section, keep it at the top of your To-Do List at all times. That way you can start each day by reviewing what excites you and gives you the greatest satisfaction. Then, as you scan your To-Do List, you can start with those items that are most in alignment with your I Get To Do Section. This will help to draw you in to action. Rinse. Repeat. And, before you know it, you’ll accomplish what you wanted to get done today.

How does this help? Simple, instead of dreading your to do list, you’re approaching it from a place of gratitude. These are tasks, projects that you get to do and that bring you energy and excitement. Need help upgrading your To-Do Lists? I’d love to help you.

Yes! Let's Do This! To-Do List

4 comments to To-Do Lists That Work

  • LB

    Very timely! Lately I’ve been trying hard to focus on the I Get To….. part of my job.

  • Steve Frank

    Nice, LB. Although that begs a question. Are you trying or doing it? ;)

  • Great Steve! I love the perspective of “get to do” vs. “have to do”

  • Steve Frank

    Thanks, Gerrit. Really appreciate you taking the time to let me know. Please, keep me posted on how it works for you, and if it resonates with any of your clients.

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