To Do lists are like blackberries, stealth multipliers producing long canes that arc gracefully across your lawn until the tips take root in new soil. One minute you are dreaming of juicy rewards. Next thing you know, you are ensnared in prickly brambles, surrounded by vicious trip wires, and unable to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
And just like blackberries, To Do lists require ruthlessness!
I was overdue for some ruthlessness myself recently. It was time to dig up and destroy my mental and physical lists. Notice I did not say prune. When you prune a scourge like blackberries or run-away priorities, you simply create a time bomb that will explode later. If you leave the roots intact, you are just fooling yourself. You will set yourself up to waste precious time and energy trying to do too much and hacking randomly at emerging canes.
My purge began by identifying my most important outcomes and working backwards. I thought through each stream of work, creating process clarity from start to finish. Then I added the dimension of time. As I already knew, but didn’t want to admit, it was not physically possible for me to complete everything I wanted to do. Someone else maybe, but not me. At least not given my current track record.
My ruthlessness produced truly dramatic results:
- Three strategic priorities – the sweet spot between the present, my desired future, and my capabilities and passion
- Identification of missing links and the addition of new activities that will make me better and faster at achieving my three priorities
- A clean desk!
- Faster decisions
- Permission to ignore a plethora of “shoulds”
- A framework for cleaning out my paper and electronic files
- Renewed energy, confidence, and determination
The load off my back is tremendous. I am smiling more easily and reaping the many gifts of clarity!
Why didn’t I do this sooner!?!? Time has a way of slipping by. That we are on the brink of 2016 amazes me. I am marking my calendar right now for serious clarity reviews once a quarter in the new year.
Is it time for you to dig out the brambles and blow up excessive priorities? If you aren’t feeling confident, clear, and energetic, I’d say the answer is yes.