We do the things we schedule and schedule the things that are important. Our success is ultimately determined by our daily agenda.
A really sweet friend hooked me up with access to the Chick-fil-A Leadercast videos which is where I heard John Maxwell say these words. It was kind of jarring because I’m so guilty of always talking about things that I want to do, that I never make plans to do (ahem, like exercising) and recycling my to do’s from one week to the next. So, after hearing John’s words, I decided to come up with a new to do list system that I’d stick with. After trying variosu Franklin Covey calendars, to do list apps and other tools over the years, I think I’ve finally found a winner.
This system is pretty easy and basic, though you do have to put in some planning time. Because I was skeptical about whether it would work or not, I’ve actually been using it for the past few weeks just to make sure.
- Pack of index cards
- Any calendars you use
- List of any goals/action items you have
- Large paper clip
How it Works
At the start of each week, set aside time to review your week. I’ve been doing my review on Sunday nights before going to bed.
Index card #1 – Take one index card and write out a scripture or affirmation–anything that will keep you motivated throughout the week. You can use the same thing from week-to-week or switch it up every week like I do. At least once a day, you read over your affirmation. If you’re really ambitious, you can even work on commiting it to memory during the week.
Index card #2 – Take a second index card and do a brain dump of any and everything you should be doing. Be sure to consider what’s coming up on your calendar. Go through your emails to see if you have any outstanding follow-up items. Check with your spouse or kids. Look over your goals to see if their are any short-term goals you can be working on. If you come up with additional items during the week be sure to add them here.
For me, as I started to see my card fill up, I quickly became very good at deciphering what really needed to be done and what didn’t. Admittedly, I’m kind of paranoid about losing my brain dump card seeing as though once I write something down, it’s out of mind. I’ll usually take a picture of the brain dump card with my phone, just in case.
Index card #3 – You’ll use a separate index card for each day of the weeek to assign your daily to do’s. Word to the wise–don’t put too much on any one day or you may end up defeated and overwhelmed. Since I work full-time outside the home, I try to limt myself to 2-4 day tasks (things I can done at lunch, over the phone or on my way home from work) and 4-6 night tasks (things I can do once I get home from work). Of course, it all depends, too, on how much work is required for each task. You’ll find that this step also helps you get organized for your day.
I’m getting things done. While I may end the day with a few undone tasks, I’m much more efficient about how I’m spending my time. I’m also more wary of when I’m wasting time, steady checking to see if there’s something that I could be doing.
- This system is working for me, but I can’t guarantee it’ll be as effective for you.
- It does no good to create your lists if you never look at them.
- Give yourself grace if you don’t get everything done.
- Learn to say “no” to new commitments.