We all want to be more productive. We all want to live a less stressed life, complete a lot of tasks everyday and leave our desks feeling we actually accomplished something. But many of us don’t.
Many of us are already stressed about what we won’t be able to finish tomorrow. And we look for some “revolutionary” system that will transform us in a super efficient machine. I’ll tell you right now: that won’t happen.
The answer is much simpler.
If you can only do one thing to be more productive than yesterday, create a to-do list. Seriously.
Your brain was made to think, to wonder, to create. To build arguments or craft songs or solve math equations. Your brain was not made to store every little detail in your life. It is not designed to remember absolutely everything that has to be done for your business not to colapse.
I firmly believe that little adjustments go a longer way than trying to create a whole new system in a day in the hopes of being more organized and efficient. A to-do list is something very easy to make that will free your brain like nothing else!
If you don’t know the power of to-do lists yet, let’s do an experiment.
Give your brain a break. Make a list.
Grab a piece of paper and a pen. Write down everything you have to get done. Everything. Not just for work but also at home, for church and even the things you just want to get done for yourself (think: watch X movie or read X book). Don’t worry if it had to be done by yesterday or you still have a year to complete it. You’ll deal with that later. Just keep going.
With out realizing it, we make our brains carry too much information. We know we have something to get done but we don’t quite remember it, so we lose time remembering that tiny but important thing we have for today. Meanwhile, new to-dos come our way and we try to store them too. We swear we won’t forget but then we do. And it is just a stressful vicious circle.
One of the things that have helped me the most to complete my daily tasks efficiently is simply making lists. I use ToDoist, but I promise, a simple piece of paper and a pencil can do the trick.
Once you have all the things you need to get done you can start sorting them. Create broad categories: work, home, church, social, etc. Then date your tasks and prioritize them. Don’t try to cramp up too much in just one day. Be realistic.
I’ll maybe latter write a post about how I personally use the power of to-do lists to manage my work, home and ministry tasks, but today I just want to leave you with this:
Stop forcing your brain to remember every day tasks and information. Let it be free to create the amazing stuff you were made to create. All you need is paper, pen and five minutes of your time. It will all be worth it.
[Coffee and phone image via todoist]