Holly Duckworth, CAE, CMP, CSLP

By Holly Duckworth, CAE, CMP, CSLP

Kill Your “To Do” List Now

150 150 Holly Duckworth

Why do you attempt to do the impossible?  How many things are on your “to do” list this week?  Ten?  Twelve? Thirty-two?

As you look at the list are you already in anticipatory fear of what you won’t complete.  Are you stressing if the things you did last we are “good enough?”  Most of us are. This fear, not being in the present moment is killing you and your ability to lead effectively.

This one simple choice, building and attempting to accomplish impossible “to do” lists is hurting your morale, engagement and money.  Make a new choice mindfully reduce your stress monotask today. Stop rewarding yourself for driving, eating, and talking on the phone at the same time.  All this adds up to mind-less-ness.

Admit it you have parked at your office then suddenly realized you do not remember leaving your driveway or any part of the drive to work?  Mindless.

Admit it you look at the clock and wonder where they day has gone with your “to do” list left unchecked.  Mindless.

This week.  Try Mindful mono-tasking.  Yes.  Mindfulness, the practice of being fully present in the moment can meet your “to do” list.  Here’s your practice:

Write a “to complete” list not a “to do” list. 

When I write a “to do” list it gets filled with every single thing I need to do this hour, day week, month, heck even year.  When the “to do” list is filled I look down and realize I’m overwhelmed and do nothing.  My head starts spinning.

A mindful “to complete” list is the 1-3 items that I will complete that day.  Nothing more, nothing less goes on the list.  I look at the list and my calendar to make sure those things are on the calendar.  Looking at this list gets my heart and purpose engaged again.

Once my “to complete list is complete, I breathe and know the things I need to do are on the list and the things not on the list are either not mine to do, or can wait. Then, as a leader, get fully in the present get to your being so the doing can get done also.

When, and only when all those things are done on your” to complete” list can you add something else to the list.

The practice of mindful “mono tasking” takes some practice. Yes I have days that things sneak back on the list, you will also.  You have to trust that the items that do not get on your ‘to complete” list will show up on the date/time that you must complete them.

Over time this activity will help you practice setting firm boundaries of what you will do and what you will not.  You may even hear yourself saying the most powerful complete sentence in our language.  No. When someone approaches you with a task that you cannot complete that day.  You will hear yourself building a more manageable life to lead and expectation for yourself and the culture of your organization.

Mindfulness is the practice of becoming fully present. When you are mindful, you can be your best in the world.  Give mono-tasking a try this week.  Let me know how this expands your good in the world.

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