As I look at my to-do list today – I wonder . . . what would happen if I didn’t accomplish any of the items on it?  Are these tasks really important?  Will completing them get me closer to my goals?  OR  Are these just “things to do”?

One of the traps that my clients fall into is the belief that because a task is on their to-do list, or in their head, or on a Post-It note, or scribbled on a scrap of paper, it is important and must be completed.

However, that isn’t always true!

Sometimes that best thing you can do is decide to abandon the task or project.  Now, it’s important to understand the difference between a task “falling through the cracks” and “consciously deciding to abandon” a task.

The difference rests in your intent.  In the first example, you “meant” to do the task, but somehow it just fell off your radar. In the second example, you DECIDED the task wasn’t important enough to complete.  Reactive vs. Proactive!

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How can you make sure the tasks that are on your to-do list really are worthy of your time and effort?

  1. Review your goals.  Each task should connect back to your goals for the year.  (For additional info on setting goals read “Are You Making This Mistake and “Choose Something Different“. )
  2. Scrutinize each task.  Decide which goal each task supports.  If the task doesn’t directly relate to a goal mark it with an ” * “.
  3. Make decisions.  For each task that has an ” * ” on it,  ask yourself what the value of completing the task is.  If you decide the task is important, you may need to add a corresponding goal to your list.  Or, you may need to decide to abandon (i.e. delete) the task.  If it doesn’t relate to a goal, why do it?

Seems like a pretty simple concept – spend your time on tasks that are directly related to your goals, and delete the rest.  Once you cull through your task list – it should be pretty smooth sailing.  Right?

Um . . . NO!!!

What happens tomorrow, when you have new items for your to-do list?  One strategy is to strategically abandon items before they even make it onto the list, otherwise, the most bare bones task list will start to expand after a few weeks.  If the task doesn’t relate directly to a goal, don’t put it on the list.

However, let’s be honest, years of jotting everything down is tough to overcome!  Schedule time to review your task list periodically.  Walk through the 3 step process listed above weekly.

When you use your goals as your lens to determine what you want to focus on, determine the tasks that correlate to those goals, and abandon the rest, successful completion of your goals is guaranteed.

Your turn!  How do make sure you are only working on the most important tasks?  Please post below!

Would you like some support accomplishing your goals?  

With a little coaching, you can easily achieve the perfect balance between your business and personal lives.  You can develop a framework and a system that allows you to put first things first -and live a life of purpose, accomplishment, and fun.  You can turn ideas into action!

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