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Let me guess. You have a to-do list and you add to it everyday.
You promptly go through each item and check it off, one after one.
By the end of the day, your list is completely empty and awaiting whatever tasks tomorrow holds.
Not so much?
Since you’re here, reading this article, I assume that it doesn’t go so smoothly. It doesn’t go so smoothly for me either.
You are constantly adding to your list and occasionally checking something off.
Enough is enough. When your to-do list is so full that you forget about things at the bottom, it’s time to change something.
Here’s how to completely clear your to-list today and start getting stuff done, without overwhelming yourself…
Before You Clear the List
In David Allen’s famous book “Getting Things Done“, he talks about the importance of clearing your head and getting all of those thoughts out to make room for new thoughts. This is probably my favorite part of his entire book.
I think keeping a clear head is a must, to be as productive as possible, so I do this all the time.
I personally use an app that syncs to my Google task list, called GoTasks.
There’s not much to it. It’s simple. And I like it like that.
I have several different lists, including one I call “The Master List”. This is the list I use to brain dump.
If I hear of a book or website I want to check out, I instantly put it on this list. If an idea pops into my head…this list. Literally everything goes here. Then later, I’ll come through and sort it into my “Reading List” or my “Idea List”, etc…
Now you know how my list is created. Your list may be similar, but either way, let’s talk about clearing it.
6 Steps to Clear Your To-Do List
Here are the steps I take to clear my list. You can do this today and I recommend doing it at least once per week from this point on. It may take several hours the first day, but after you do it once, you can do it weekly and it will actually be a fairly quick process.
- Eliminate – Go through every single item on your to-do list and eliminate the unnecessary tasks. Some you may have already completed, some may be out-dated and others may just not make sense anymore. Eliminate as much as you can.
- Automate – You may have reoccurring tasks on your list (i.e. bills) that you don’t have to be doing yourself. Automate as much as possible and you will create time for other tasks. At minimum, you can automate most parts of your finances.
- Delegate – You may have things on your list that need to be done, but that doesn’t mean you have to do them. Decide what you’re willing to delegate and find the right person for the job. Try websites like Fiverr and Elance to find help.
- Postpone – Many of the things on your list should simply be postponed. They may be important things that need to be done, but there also may be so many more important things that you just can’t do them right now. It’s OK to postpone.
- Breakdown – Now you should have a list full of the top priorities and the must-do items. Break them down into reasonable increments and small sessions. You’re getting ready to start scheduling everything that’s left.
- Schedule – Now that you have everything broken down and you know about how much time you’ll need for each, put everything into your schedule. Once it goes into your schedule, check it off your to-do list. You now have a time slot for everything.
That’s it. Your schedule is the most important part. If you want to get things done, you must make time for them, therefore you must schedule them.
It’s Really That Simple
If you can’t find time in your schedule for a task, you may need to put it off. You will also need to stick to your schedule to make this work.
For really large projects, schedule it daily.
Once you put this stuff into your schedule, you’ll be amazed at how it actually gets accomplished. To-do lists are awesome, but only when we actually do the things on the list!
I am guilty of having an overflowing to-do list. That’s exactly why I knew I had to find a way to clear it, and of course, share that way with you. It can be stressfull to feel like you’re never going to clear your list.
Now I hope you feel like you can clear it. 🙂