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Video: ToDo List Strategies to Get More Done

Today’s video gets at your ToDo List–is it giving you the evil eye? Is there an item (…or three) that’s been on there waaaay too long? Shed those feelings of guilt or dread… let’s switch mindsets to see what’s really going on so you can start crossing items off with glee.

You can watch the video here, or read the transcript below:

Hey there, Natural Professionals. It’s Shawn Tuttle.

Clarity of Action is really, really important. You know where you’re headed, this is your big picture intention, your big vision. You break that down into roles, which breaks down into goals, then into milestones, into projects, and then the next step after the project is the ToDo item.

Help your mind fill in the gaps

When an action to be done isn’t clear, it’s really easy for your mind to skip over it on your ToDo List, which means:

  1. it doesn’t happen,
  2. it starts to head towards late status, or
  3. it means that you just end up not making progress on your important projects.

Clarify different mindsets

Treat your ToDo List—your action items—as part of the design process. Which means that you’re going to create it at a different time than when you’re doing it.

There’s a different mindset, a different mental process that you use to get into big picture planning versus the actual doing. So when you’re in a planning mindset and you’re going through your projects and you’re determining which ones you want to move forward in the coming week, you’ll decide which actions are going to help you make that progress.

Single Next Actions: the key to a successful ToDo List

When you decide what those actions are, the process of making them single next actions—this is a David Allen term—you are committing to yourself that you know what this action actually entails in order to get done.

All too often, we put things that are vague or too big, too chunky, on the ToDo List. We see it, and then we skip over it—again, because the brain doesn’t know how to really wrap its hands around it.

One step at a time

So what ends up on your ToDo List, if we’re talking single next actions, are “Single”, right? It’s one step. It’s not three steps; it’s one step. It’s a next action, which means that there’s nothing that needs to happen before it.

In order to make a phone call, you have to have a phone number. In order to write a new About page for your website, you want to know what you’re going to include. So what is the actual “Next” procedural step to get towards the next project or milestone?

Make it actionable: Use a verb

And then “Action” meaning it’s actionable. The easiest way to know if it’s actionable is starting it with a verb. “Write,” “brainstorm,” “research,” “call,” “find.” Verbs.

The POWER of your ToDo List

Your ToDo List represents much more than just a list of things that you’re thinking of getting done today. It represents what you’re moving forward in the world, and it also represents how clear you are with what you’re moving forward with in the world.

So if what’s on your ToDo List isn’t clear, then it’s possible that you’re not clear with the direction of the project that the action is meant to move forward.

Get clarity before moving forward. The time that you spend in planning, both on a weekly basis and then checking in with that in the morning and looking forward in your day, is going to pay off exponentially.

Okay, that’s it for today. Until the next time, stay natural!

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