Having a lot to do is fulfilling, it gives you something to work on and something to look forward to. And a huge sense of achievement when you’ve smashed it. Running CGD LONDON, focusing on my fitness and health goals, saving, and socializing is a lot.
When work gets crazy, that’s when I really need a solid plan for success. There’s one simple step I learned that always helps me get back on track, no matter how many goals I have and that’s to always start with a very particular list.
My simple trick
You start by writing out a list, you can use a notebook like the Make It Happen notebook to create it. The most important part of the list is that you lay it out in a very specific way.
Start with categories, every area of your life has goals and objectives right? You need to pay your bill, paint your walls, complete your work goals, and so on. The best way to lay this out is by writing down each category that you need to achieve something in and then making crazy notes on everything you want to get done. Perform a brain dump.
Next, you need to ask yourself three questions about each item on your list.
1. Is it urgent?
2. Is it making me happy?
3. Can I live without this?
For your work goals, the first point is the most important point, but you can ask yourself whether you can live without a mindless spreadsheet you’re making for yourself, or if there’s a smarter way to achieve your work objectives. You’re essentially Marie Kondo-ing your to-dos.
2. Save your mental energy
Carrying around one million goals, objectives, and to-dos in your head is not going to help you at all.
Your mental energy is limited, you can’t waste your time making decisions on things like what to eat for breakfast when you could instead be making big decisions and becoming more successful. That’s why they mostly eat the same thing every day or wear the same ‘uniform’. Reducing decision making is a great way to conserve mental energy.
Go through your list with a highlighter and decide what to focus on, and what to forget (for now).
3. Don’t just trust the list
One planner is never enough to organize all the work you have to do. Once you have a list of the objectives you’re dead set on, you can copy them into a planner.
I pair up the Getting Stuff Done planner with my Make It Happen notebook to really ‘power-up’ my day. Copying the objectives into my Getting Stuff Done planner makes me more likely to focus on just a few key objectives and reminds me to take care of myself, too.