Accomplishing More Tasks Is Better?
Oh the endless to-do list.
It can be such a fickle friend right?
One day it makes you feel amazing and on top of your game and other days it can make you feel like the biggest failure.
I can get so sucked into judging myself by the amount of items checked off my list each day.
If I get to a lot of the items it might feel awesome but also leave me exhausted.
If I can’t get to much on the list or the day goes awry as it so often does, I feel discouraged and scattered.
And it can be so frustrating to push tasks to the next day…and then the next.
Can you relate?
I’ve been realizing that maybe the problem ISN’T with our time management skills or even with our ability to get things done.
The problem might just be HOW we’re making our lists.
My most favorite planners have a “top task” or “top three tasks” list at the top of each day.
When I use these I feel so much more on track, rather than when I’m just listing out as many to-dos as I can think of on a sheet of paper.
Why do these work so well? Because not all tasks are equal and not all tasks are even necessary for today.
Some tasks move us forward and help us to be more productive and on top of things.
Other tasks just take up our time and sometimes even waste it.
For example, here’s a typical to-do-list I might write…
Make green smoothies.
Post an Instagram story.
Dust my baseboards.
Weed the garden.
Design holiday cards.
Spend time with the kids.
Pay electric bill.
These are all typical daily tasks that we might put on a to-do list and then what do we all do?
We start from the top and work our way down, right?
Well by the time I’ve made smoothies, spent time on instagram, emailed back and forth for awhile and dusted my baseboards, my energy might be really drained and my day might be about filled up.
Was I busy? Definitely.
Was I productive? It’s questionable.
Do I feel accomplished and energized? Not at all.
Why? Because I crammed in way too many things and the most important items were at the end of the list.
My main income-bringing work did not get done, my kids were ignored and my electric bill is probably going to be late. And by this point I’m out of time with not much to show for it.
What if my list just looked like this…
TODAY’S TOP 3
1. Spend time with kids.
2. Pay electric bill
3. Design holiday cards
If there’s time…
5. Green smoothies
Do you see the difference?
Now that my top tasks are up top, I can be sure to accomplish what actually matters most to me.
And with the list slimmed down, I can preserve my energy and feel proud of what I got done.
If I don’t get to green smoothies, am I going to feel like a failure? No way!
But if I do finish my short list early, I can add more tasks or I can go do something relaxing and fun.
Here are a few key principles to make this work….
Keep a short list.
List out your to-dos and then choose a top task or at most, a top 3. If you get nothing else done today, what’s that highest priority?
And it’s okay to keep your lists short! If it starts to get lengthy, cross off the non-essentials and what you know deep down you probably won’t get to. Take them off the list and slim it down.
Imagine how you’ll feel when you get your task emptied. Free right?
Leave room to breathe
Leave extra space for recharging or for unexpected things.
You are not a machine or a robot or a computer. Just because you might have the time, doesn’t mean you’ll have the mental and physical energy. Don’t fill up every moment of the day with busyness and to-dos because you’ll miss it.
And for what? Instagram likes? Alphabetized folders? That stuff doesn’t matter nearly as much as being present with your family and friends or making sure the bills are paid.
That doesn’t mean you’ll never get to the weeding or live in a dusty house.
Most likely you WILL eventually get to those things.
In fact you’ll probably get them done sooner than you think because after getting your top things done, you’’ll be feeling recharged and energized.
You are NOT what you DO
Your worth and value does not come from what you can get done.
To prove this, at the end of your life you are not going to wish you had a perfectly weeded garden or more social media followers.
You have worth because you’re alive and you’re you!
As cheesy as that sounds, it’s true. You are loved by God and by the many people whose lives you touch just by being here.
So give yourself permission to BE a little more and DO a little less.
Focusing on your top 3 will ensure you still move forward with purpose but get to enjoy your life at the same time.
Do you struggle to feel productive at the end of the day. Share in the comments!