Do you have items on your “things to do” list that never seem to “get done”? At the end of your day you find yourself transferring it to tomorrow’s list? In a recent “Managing Myself and My Time” course, I share the following tip that I found useful:
- Take a look at your current “things to do list”.
- Highlight the one that is stuck.
- Ask yourself the question, “What is the very next action step I need to take?”
You may find there are a few “next action steps” involved but seeing each separately and simplified, will make it so much easier to take action and bring you closer to finishing the task …and one less thing to put on your “things to do list”.
Take a look at this example:
One of the things on my list was to file feedback forms from learners which was piling up on shelf taking up space. It seems like such a simple thing to do yet I just never got it done and moved it from list to list as the days went by. When thinking about my next action step, it involved ordering large enough lever arch files from a recommended local stationery supplier. Before placing an order for delivery, I needed to give them a call. In order to give them a call, I needed their number. In order to get their number, I needed to access their website. So, the item on my list read, Get number from Bishops website instead of , File feedback forms – this seemed so much more manageable when I next tackled my list and guess what…yes, I got the number and placed my order…now I had momentum and File feedback forms did not seem like this “big” task that never got done.
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret to getting started is breaking your complex and overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” Mark Twain
The picture was my Learning Point when reading the book “Getting Things Done” by David Allen.