Master Any List with Focus
Do you have too much to do all the time, just like me? Every day new tasks come along and every day someone wants to hear a decision from me. Especially when I work as a manager, people often approach me with questions and problems. My list looks like a junkyard, where the big and small parts in all colors are piled up randomly. The schedule is far too full … I would rather bring order back and be able to breathe freely, work through the pile. Therefore, I start with one of the many tasks. That much I already know from textbooks, seminars, experience. Just with which one? How do I decide which project to tackle first and which one is important for what?
Here’s what I do when I have too many to-do’s
First, I collect all the to-do’s. It doesn’t matter how important or unimportant, urgent or long-term they seem. I write down everything that needs to be done, without filters or categories.
In the second step, I prioritize and select my “Top 3” tasks. In doing so, I switch from time management to focus management; I tackle what is really important to me. (Not what supposedly fits into my available time frame.) Priority is given to what fits my big goal – my Purpose and my Vision. Anything that doesn’t align with that, I can confidently postpone or cross off the list altogether. Maybe I’ve only done it out of habit or a sense of duty so far. Have I ever questioned that?
Once the selection of the Top 3 tasks (for today, the month or the next 90 days) is made, I focus only on these, one after another. I start with the most important one and carry it through to the end. Regardless of the time it takes. Once it is done, I feel better and successful.
Where does “time management” go wrong?
Time passes, no matter what I do during it. I cannot “manage” it, neither slow it down nor speed it up. A day always has 24 hours. If I want to get everything done that I could somehow, these 24 hours are not enough. Simply because after the work is done, a new construction site always opens up. “Now I have time, I could still do this and that,” comes quickly to mind. I don’t think about whether this work is really necessary. Instead, I create more stress for myself. With focus management, I’m done as soon as the important things are done. The rest of the time is free for things that bring me joy. So the next day I’m refreshed to tackle the next important task.