Have You Got Way Too Many Things on Your To-Do List?


Taking Things off Your to-Do List…

I was with a potential client this week and, towards the end of the call, she stopped me and said,

Oh wow, what did you just say, that was priceless!

I laughed and replied,

Maybe I should have recorded the call!

I don’t routinely offer to record calls, but I can. It’s super-easy with the push of a button. But when I ask clients, they usually tell me that, even when the recordings are there, they don’t listen back.

Me too. While I love to listen to training calls and groups, I don’t usually listen back to coaching calls.

You Always Know What to Do

The point though, isn’t about why I do or don’t do this, but the fact that it isn’t at the front of my mind to record the call, because there’s a deeper part of me that knows that someone is very unlikely to listen back.

It’s one less thing on my to-do list.

Not because I’ve done anything to cross it off. But because I have a sub-conscious ‘knowing’ what to do and what not to do.

Now, when I’m running a webinar for example, I like to record them, so sometimes it will occur to me to stick a post-it in front of my computer to remind myself!

You see, again, my ‘knowing’ is tell me what to do. And, if it occurred to me to have a checklist, then I’m sure I’d develop a checklist.

Not that checklists or to-do lists are good or bad. They’re completely neutral, unless we use them as yet another way to tell ourselves how much we ‘should’ be doing.

What we forget is that we have a perfectly good system for doing that already. 

Are You an Early Riser? 

You may be the sort of person who wakes up at a regular time every day with no need for an alarm. Or you may be the sort of person who will sleep in unless you have an alarm? I bet, if you’re in the latter camp, you set an alarm…

But I’m pretty sure most of us don’t need a checklist to make a cup of tea. Or don’t have to get the manual out every time we drive the car.

So why, when it comes to our professional lives, do we add so much clutter to our mental, digital and physical environments? What purpose is it serving other than, well, to add clutter??

Sure, it sometimes helps to do a brain dump, or make a plan, or list out what we want to pack when we’re going away. But when we think we have to do things a certain way, and always that way, then we’re doing the equivalent of getting a recipe book out for the aforementioned cup of tea.

Even When You Don’t! 

Now sometimes our minds are busy, and it’s harder for us to get a sense of this internal automatic ‘knowing’.

For the last few weeks I’ve been forgetting things, and dropping things (broken my expensive iPhone twice, VERY unusual for me!).  But I know my mind is noisy, and I need to slow down a little to allow it to clear. Not to rush so I’m less likely to forget.

Can you see how, even in the midst of the noise, I’m hearing something relevant? I don’t need to have a reminder to slow down, it’s coming naturally.

Once we see that we always know what to do, and that, even when we’re busy and our minds are full of noise and clutter, we still have access to the beautiful system that tells us what to do next, then we can let go of so much of the scaffolding we’ve added to our lives to support us.

When we know how to ride a bike, we don’t need stabilisers.

When we know that we’ll always know what to do, then we don’t need to keep constant reminders around, and we don’t need to beat ourselves up for not doing things that don’t seem urgent or important to us!

Have a great week.

With love,