Monday, January 12, 2015

Focus Your "To Do" List

You have way too much to do – and your “to do” list probably reflects that.  Here are a few tips to provide some FOCUS to that “to do” list.

First, ask yourself What is the most important thing for me to focus on during the next three months?  Then write that in CAPS at the top of your “to do” list every day. This will help make sure that you are focusing on at least one bigger picture issue every day, rather than just the endless minutia that can consume our days.  Stephen Covey would call this your “biggest rock” for the quarter (see First Things First, 1994).  Looking at that Big Rock every day will improve your strategic focus.

Next, if you are like most people, your daily “to do” list is too long – and you never complete it.  No matter how long your list usually is, I encourage you to cut it in half.  Use this rule of thumb: if you are absolutely sure that there is no way you are going to get everything on the list done that day, then cut the least important items and put them in a separate “parking lot.  You can visit the “parking lot” the next day for candidates to put on that day’s list.  Worst case, if you finish your shortened list early then either pick something from the “parking lot” or – here is radical idea –go home on time for once.

Create a quarterly Big Rock, cut your “to do” list by 50%, and create a To Do List Parking Lot.”  These practices will make you more focused and productive in 2015!

For more ideas on how you can lead breakthroughs in your organization, follow this blog and check out my web site at   You will find free resources you can download, including a Breakthrough Strategy Workbook that you can download at no cost.  You can also check out my book, Mission Impact:  Breakthrough Strategies for Nonprofits, and buy it if you are interested.  And you can follow Sheehan Nonprofit Consulting on Facebook.

No comments:

Post a Comment