My to do list became a priority list


Have you ever made a to do list with plans to get it all done, but at the end of the day only the little items are checked off?

I had begun to see a pattern where I would get “nice to have done” tasks completed in my day, but the “need to be done” items would remain on my list, being put off until the absolute latest moment. Why was this? I wasn’t prioritizing my to do list.

Let’s pause. I thought prioritizing your tasks was for big wig business people who have a ton of important stuff to get done. Turns out, no, it’s simply for people who want to get stuff done on a regular basis. It is super helpful and it works!

How does this work? I make my to do list as normal- with any and every task I can think of. Nothing is too big or small, such as doing the dishes, returning library books, or income taxes. 

Next I take this big list and really ask myself what has to get done today? 

For instance if I’m starting my work week tomorrow do I have to meal prep? 

Do I have to do laundry or risk going commando?

Are the dishes starting to grow mold?

Will you not be able to ride your bike if you don’t pump your tires?

These items get placed at the top of the list and only to a maximum of three. I’m serious. Look at that list of four, you either starve, go commando, eat off paper plates or take the bus. Which is your poison? 

Then, when you are thinking of doing something productive, you can’t do anything else until those are done. Get a coffee out? Nope. Text a friend? Nope. You have a priority list and it needs to get done. Honestly once the option of skipping it was gone I plowed through my list. 

So many times the act of deciding to do the thing is the hardest part. Yes, sometimes you come up against roadblocks, such as when you can’t find the form you need to fill out for work. However, you need to take a step in the right direction before you can move on. Email someone, ask someone, reach out and schedule when you will tackle this again. Only then can you do the fun, busy work activities such as cleaning your retainer and finally clearing out the spice drawer; things I would normally do to make myself feel more productive.  It wasn’t until I realized it didn’t matter how spiffy my spice drawer is when you are a commando, bus riding, pizza eater. 

Now a Priority List doesn’t sound fun, festive or sexy, so why not give this power list a power name. I call mine “Get ‘er Done” or “Ta Da” instead of the boring To Do.

What have you been putting off that you need to finally prioritize? What got placed on the to do list in September and still isn’t finished? Taking things to the dump? Clearing out your shoe rack? Calling your aunt? 

What will be your top 3 priorities tomorrow, and more importantly, what will you call your list?

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