To Do? Or To Find Out? by Forbes – Entrepreneurs

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Do you find that your to-do list just turns into a bunch of questions? Things you need to “find out?”

When I would start to get overwhelmed with work, in a fury I would do a huge brain dump in my notebook and have a massive list of things I needed to get done. These to-dos were tumbling around in my head making my focus cloudy and my anxiety shoot through the roof. Being overwhelmed is the enemy of productivity and I was losing the battle.

One day as I stared at my giant list (again), I realized that the majority of what was on there were things I needed to research or projects I needed to chunk down. They weren’t simple to-dos. Yet, these projects or questions were taking up just as much brain space as any small to-do was. So I separated them out into two lists. The first list consisted of what I could actually take action on right then, the things I had the resources and knowledge to handle and finish. The second list were things I needed to do more research on or projects I needed to put more thinking work towards.

To Do or To Find Out?Pexels

To-dos are actions, not questions. 

In an effort to get everything done, I was treating all of these things equally and it was burning me out. One way that we can really clutter our mind is to mash up action with thinking. There are certain things that we can take immediate action on, and things that will stop us in our tracks if we don’t have all the answers.

My to-do list would look something like this:- Find out if my merchant account allows for recurring payments and how to set them up (research)

– Learn how to use Leadpages (big project)

– Email advisory board about 2nd quarter goals (action)

– Create video for webinar (big project)

– Write blog post about team communication  (action)

– Find out if email marketing system will filter out groups (research)

– Find a venue for the next networking event (research)

– Find out if Verizon or ATT is the best for our business account (research)

Only 2 of these 8 items are actually actionable to-dos. 

The majority of my to-do list would be pages of questions/research and I would be overwhelmed again. Can you relate? Is your to-do list filling up with things you need to “figure out?”

It’s time to make 2 lists. A to-do list and a research/project list.

For example, “create video for webinar” – there are lots of parts to this one to-do. I need to decide on a topic, figure out where to record it, write a script, etc. etc. This isn’t one simple to-do. This is a project.

Once you separate the two, you’ll find that your to-do list is swiftly and easily completed each day. Getting the questions out of the way, allows you to clearly get into productivity mode and taking action on your simple to-dos. Tackle this list during a peak hour of energy. I like to start my day off by taking action on the things that I can confidently cross off the list.

Pro Tip: Create a “to-do” to work on one of your research/projects. 

If you have a team, it is now easier for you to start delegating. Side benefit!! The items to be researched or projects that need to be chunked down can be handled by a team member or even your virtual assistant. You don’t have to personally call ATT and Verizon to get a plan comparison. Someone on your team can handle that for you and you can then make a decision.

Someone on your team can create a punch list of things that need to happen in order for the video to get recorded for your webinar. Now that you have separated out your “to-dos” you have reduced a lot of friction in the productivity department.

You’ll probably find that you’ve completed the day’s list within a half hour to an hour. The feeling of accomplishment and being productive is a high we all know too well. Ride that high as you move into working on answering questions, learning new programs, researching questions, tacking a big project. The little to-dos won’t be nagging you anymore and your day will be more productive.

 

Clarity for the win!

February 7, 2019 at 01:19PM
https://www.forbes.com/sites/stephanieburns/2019/02/07/to-do-or-to-find-out/
Forbes – Entrepreneurs
http://www.forbes.com/entrepreneurs/
http://bit.ly/2CMy7Yu