You know those circus acts where the performer is balancing three dozen plates while standing on a ball? You feel all of the anxiety as you watch in anticipation, wondering if the plates will come crashing down at any moment. Ever feel like that about life?
Kids have school and their activities. The dogs need to be fed and walked. Laundry feels like it’s about to plan a coup and take over your entire house. When was the last time you mopped the floor? You have no idea what to make for dinner tonight. On top of that are all the tasks that need to be completed for your business.
Overwhelmed much? So what’s the secret of having it all and doing it all? There isn’t one, but there is a way to make life feel less like standing on a ball, balancing a bunch of plates.
So let’s get down to business. How in the world can you get through your super duper long to-do list?
1. Determine what your goals are and make sure they are SMART.
This is an important first step. It may seem a little tedious at first, but don’t skip it. What are SMART goals?
First, a goal must be Specific. For example, don’t make a goal to “lose weight”. Be specific, “I want to fit into those cute jeans that I love.”
Second, a goal must be Measurable. How will you know you achieved a goal? How do you measure success? Perhaps, you can have a goal of making a certain dollar amount this month. A good goal can be measured.
Third, a goal has to be Achievable. It has to be realistic. For example, I would really love it if my house could be the epitome of clean, like a picture in a magazine, but the reality is I live with three young children, two big dogs, and a husband. So, having a clean house is just not a realistic goal for me. It’s important to be realistic about your goals. You also have to outline what steps you need take to achieve your goals.
Fourth, your goal must be Relevant or important to you. Why do you want to achieve this particular goal? Your “why” is what will motivate you. If you don’t have a strong “why”, well, then maybe it’s not really a goal worth pursuing.
Lastly, there has to be a Time constraint on your goal. When do you want to complete your goal? Setting a time limit on your goals motivates you to get to work. Think about it. If you know you have to get something done, but you haven’t given yourself a specific due date, isn’t it easier and likely that you will procrastinate? So set a time limit for your goals.
2. Prioritize your goals.
If you did a good job with assessing your goals, this step should be easy. Which goals are most important to you? Place your goals in order of importance.
3. Reverse engineer.
Start with your goal, and work your way backwards outlining the steps you need to take to get there. Working backwards allows you to take the time to get an in depth so you can outline a solid plan of action. This may take some research on your part, possibly studying those who have been successful at reaching the same goals.
4. Make a master to-do list.
You’ve assessed your goals. You’ve reverse engineered your goals, so you know all of the steps. Now it’s time to make your master list. You can do this in a notebook, or in an excel sheet, whatever works for you. Write down EVERYTHING that you have to do in one giant list.
If you want to be really organized you can break it down by goal (business, family, physical, etc.). Write everything down.
This workbook is an incredible resource! Created for my “Dream. Plan. Do.” mini-course, this 20 page workbook takes you through the process of planning and achieving your goals. It also includes printables that you can use so you can apply the this process to get things done.
5. Prioritize and categorize your list.
Highlight the items on your list that need to be done first, have an impending deadline. Categorize your list into things that need to be done daily, weekly, monthly, annually, etc.
6. Attack your list daily.
Get into the habit of, either the night before or the morning of, sitting down and creating a daily to-do list from your master list. Have a goal of accomplishing 3-5 things from your list, starting with the most important items. If you don’t get it done that day, simply move it to the top of the list for the next day.
7. Delegate some items on your list.
The fact is you can’t do it all. Get some help. Involve your family in the household responsibilities. Hire a cleaner for your home.
Those business tasks can be overwhelming. A virtual assistant can take a lot of that load off of your shoulders. Read more about what you can outsource to a virtual assistant here.