How to Get More Done & LOVE It
You know that moment when you look at your day planner, Google calendar, or Post-It to-do list and feel a little like a deer in headlights?
These expressions cross my face once at least once a week.
Why did I plan to do ALL of this and host my Mom in town this week?!
Break tasks down into bite-sized chunks.
You probably don’t realize this, but your to-do items, like:
Create marketing plan OR Update website
are actually TOO huge! Way too huge. That’s why it’s so hard to cross them off your list.
When tasks are way too big to reasonably accomplish, we freak out, avoid things, move them to other days, or just chuck them off the list and rationalize why we didn’t need them in the first place.
The Biz of Breaking Sh*t Down
If you’ve ever struggled with To-Do List Overwhelm, follow along with me.
1) Take a look at your to-do list and pick one item. For a recent client, her task was to get new photos for her website & social media.
2) Take your item and break it down into bite-sized chunks. When I say bite-sized I mean they shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to complete. Yep, I’m talking itsy bitsy.
In Texas, we don’t chew steak unless it is melt-in-your-mouth tender – treat yourself the same way.
Here’s what “get new photos” could look like when broken down:
- Decide on budget for photography
- Ask three friends on facebook status update who their favorite photographer is
- Spend 25 minutes on my own research for local photographers – look at wedding boards, awards lists, photography associations, and directories (limit to natural light experts!)
- Send email to three potential photographers within budget and location and request their feedback on my vision
- Schedule to follow-up with photographers in one week if I haven’t heard back
- Look at all options and notice what my gut says to do
- If I haven’t made a choice in three weeks, stop all action and revisit in 6 weeks (schedule this date in calendar now)
Other tips to break list down further
When I make my lists, I also add in contingency plans – like making a note to ping someone again if I haven’t heard back from them in a few days. This way, I don’t drop the ball nearly as much as I would if I just waited for all my Sent messages to be responded to.
When you break sh*t down into bite-sized chunks you make it easy for you to pick this task up at any time during the week.
You create specific time frames for yourself – like how long you’ll spend on a task, or how many people you will email – which are artificial limits on the overwhelm monster.
You’re actually saying how the whole experience is going to go – and you’re not leaving it up to chance that you’ll get sucked into staring and whimsical baby pictures for three hours with nothing to show for your to-do list.
It’s also OK to leave any part of the information gathering up to your personal friends and social media channels to answer for you. I know Tim Ferriss suggests this regularly because now stuff is getting done without Y-O-U in the mix.
Think about it – asking friends what they already love is a life line, just like “Phone a Friend” on Who Wants to Be A Millionaire.
If you have great friends, they probably like quality stuff already and do you really know any friends who wouldn’t love to tell you what to do, if given a chance?
When you Break Sh*t Down, you will also start to notice the HUGE amount of stuff you take on a daily basis, so here’s my last tip:
At the end of the day, no matter what you accomplished, review all that you did accomplish and give yourself permission to grab a cold bottle of Stella or glass of red. You really do take on a lot more than you think.
Now I’d love to know…
Do you ever experience To-Do List Overwhelm, and if so, what’s it like? What triggers you and how do you deal?
What happens – or what doesn’t happen when you face your mountainous to-do list?
Be as specific as you can, ’cause I want to learn what you do.
I can’t wait to hear from you!