We’ve all been there, an overwhelming list that seems impossible to tackle, you don’t know where to start or the best way of accomplishing things. This often leads to postponing tasks, overwhelm and stress! In this blog we’ll discuss techniques and strategies to help you finally tackle that to do list!
Accountability is one of the most powerful tools you can use to nail your to do list. Simply the act of telling someone “I am going to do these things today” can get your brain into productivity mode. As humans we strive to please other people so the fear of letting someone down can engage you really well.
You can tell a friend, your partner, parents, social media or even pop it in the Virtual Bird group! Accountability is so powerful that I have a successful program based on this principle. And it works!
Just Do It – Eat The Frog
Procrastination is the thief of time said someone or other, and they’re right. If there’s a task you can’t face doing or don’t know how to do, you’ll procrastinate and do anything to avoid doing it. Not only is this not productive, but it can also harm your mood as you’ll know you have to do the thing.
So eat the frog, get it over and done with, rip off the plaster. It’ll feel awful but you’ll feel so much better for doing it.
P.S. Please don’t eat any frogs, thanks!
Done Is Better Than Perfect
To a point, this one can be a great tool to get things ticked off. If, for example, you need to list a new product on your website but the thought of writing a whole sales page or massive description is off-putting then do the bare minimum. You can get away with a basic description, image and price. Yes, the sales may not be the same compared to the full monty, but it’ll be live and it’ll have more of a chance of selling than if it weren’t!
Obviously this isn’t suitable for every single task, but it can be useful for lots of applications. Your laundry, washed and dried but not put away is better than unwashed, at least you’ll have clean clothes!
Break It Down
This tactic can be used in tandem with many of the others to make tasks less overwhelming. It also puts less pressure on and makes them more achievable in shorter periods of time.
Let’s take an example, say your task is to write 12 blog posts. That’s a lot of time, mental energy and stress.
But you can break that down into several mini tasks such as:
- Brainstorm titles for blog posts
- Map outline
- Rough draft
- Final copy
All of a sudden, 1 big overwhelming task in which you need hours of time and energy for is broken down into 5 smaller tasks that are more achievable in a shorter timeframe.
Once you’ve broken your task down, you can then organise the tasks into batches. Organising your tasks into batches can keep you in the zone and make it easier to stay focused – meaning you get more done in a more efficient way.
I will preface this by saying this strategy takes self-discipline and it isn’t suitable for everybody, but for those who thrive on “gamifying”, this is the tool for you. Create yourself a reward chart and for every X number of tasks you achieve, reward yourself. The Pomodoro technique is loosely tied into this as it rewards you with a break after 20 minutes, but you can use physical things as a reward too.
Your rewards list may look something like this:
1 Task – Chocolate biscuit & coffee
3 Tasks – Scroll in the sunshine
10 Tasks – 1 hour of reading and a bubble bath
Just remember to stick to your list and don’t give yourself the rewards if you’ve not ticked the task off, it kind of defies the point! This method also works really well with big goals too!
“I’ll do it tomorrow” is a very popular phrase people use when trying to tackle their to do lists. That’s all well and good but when you do that repeatedly you end up with a list that you can’t get on top of. The best thing you can do for your tasks is to be realistic when setting your to do list and timeframes.
Take into consideration your obligations, lifestyle, moods etc. All of these things affect how productive you feel and what you’ll be able to achieve.
If you know you have a mid-afternoon slump and your morning is full of appointments, you know you won’t have hours and hours of productive time. So why set yourself up to fail and give yourself 6 hours of tasks to do.
If you do need to postpone a task, make sure you do so for a time that will be achievable and not on a day that is already jam packed. It’s also important not to postpone tasks repeatedly. If you find yourself doing that, ask yourself if it deserves to be on the list at all. If it does, can you dedicate specific time to get it done, or delegate it to get it handled by someone else.
These strategies will make the most of your time and get things ticked off quicker. I hope you’ve found this helpful and will finally tackle that to do list!