VIDEO: How to Properly Use Your To-Do List–PART II

In this 2nd video in my To-Do List series, I review how to use your To-Do List for best results.

If you would rather read than watch, below are my notes/script that I used to make the video:

As I note in Part I, If you want to be successful, at regular intervals you need to review and plan your goals and how you are going to achieve them.

-I find that people either only plan what to do each morning

-OR they do longer range planning such as yearly, monthly, or weekly planning and stop there.

-The problem with either of these is that you end up spending your time on what Stephen Covey calls “the thick of thin things.”

-We often get caught up in all sorts of things that may or may not be in line with our values, goals, and mission. How do we prevent this from happening?

The proper use of a to-do list.

​​​-In my previous videos, I went over how relying on inspiration to keep you motivated is not enough.

-I reviewed how The most successful people make their daily decisions about what to do with their time based on their goals and values, not on their moods, energy levels, or what their mind says they can or cannot do.

-I also reviewed how our brains dopamine reward system is being hijacked by technology and how we need to focus more of our efforts on Steven Covey’s Quadrant II activities, activities that are IMPORTANT but NOT URGENT.

-In Part I on To-Do Lists I went over how using them frees up your brain’s RAM, or what’s called Working Memory and how checking off what you’ve accomplished serves to motivate you by giving you a sense of closure.

-Of course, I think we can all agree that making to-do lists that are not informed by your values, mission, and long-range goals won’t help you achieve the right goals. But to-do lists have a number of useful functions.

So when is the optimal time to make and look over your To-Do List?

– Each night look over your weekly plan for what you scheduled for the next day, and then make a to-do list.

-When you do this the night before, there is still distance and perspective on the next day.

-If you only check your plan or make your to-do list in the morning, you may already have been bombarded with emails and other things that make it difficult to stick to your weekly plan.

-You may also feel tired or unmotivated when you wake up in the morning. It helps to have a set of written reminders of what you said you would tackle that day.

-And when you wake up, you’ve already completed the most important task for the day, making your to-do list!

-Each morning, begin with a look at your written-out to-do list that was developed with your weekly plan in mind when you had more perspective the evening before.

-Do this before you check your email or voicemail or get caught up in any time-consuming tasks.

-If you wait to check your to-do list after doing these activities, you may get sucked down a rabbit hole of seemingly urgent, but possibly unimportant, tasks when it comes to your goals and mission.

-Practice saying ‘no’ to these things and say ‘yes’ to your bigger goals.

-The more you do this, the easier it will become.

-At the same time, important things that are urgent will crop up.

-These are things you have to deal with promptly to prevent them from leading to even bigger problems.

-If you have an urgent deadline at work, it could be career suicide to put it off so you can focus on your bigger goals.

-Or maybe you’re an athlete and you notice a strange pain in your knee while training.

-Even though your goal may be to train at a certain intensity a set number of times each week, it would be foolish to push through the pain.

-It may even be career-ending.

-Or you get a call that a loved one is in the hospital. I think we can all agree that your to-do list can wait.

-So you have to be somewhat flexible.

-At regular intervals throughout the day, check your to-do list and see how you’re doing.

-One way to do this is to program a repeating reminder into your smartphone.

-It can be as simple as having it go off at 9 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m., or at whatever intervals work within your schedule, with the message “to do list!”

-That should be enough to remind you to check your list.

-Of course, your To-Do List needs to be informed by your short and long term goals, your values, and your overall missions and purposes in life.

-For help on figuring out those, stay tuned for my upcoming videos.

-So put these tips into action and see how your motivation and productivity soar.

-Are you ready to put the to-do this to work?

-So get out there and take control of your destiny before it controls you!