From the series: Confessions of a Recovering Overachiever by Cortney McDermott, Chime
Okay – I just can’t let go of this one . . . not entirely, anyway.
There’s something about the instant gratification of checking off or, even better, drawing a thick line through a TO-DO.
Especially if the crossed-off list is super long.
But one day my husband Luca said, “Imagine putting all your ambitious plans (all those long lists) into a grid. (This part was easy for me, because that’s how I plan long-term.) “Then make the grid bigger; just spread it out. All the same squares will be there, but with more space.”
Now, my husband is a building engineer, so generally speaking he sees things much more linearly than I do. But he had a point. Basically he was saying: Spread out the list; you don’t have to do it all at once.
I decided to take his advice. My daily list is now limited to what must get done that day, not the 5 gazillion things I’d like to get done.
Choosing only 2 or 3 priorities (“must-get-dones”) for the day has a number of benefits:
1. Fulfillment – By dedicating my time only to what I know I can get done that day, I feel less overwhelmed and more productive. When I’ve completed my must-get-dones, I am able to call it a day without feeling guilty. Or I can confidently move on to other projects, if I’m up for it.
2. Presence – I am able to be fully present with the tasks I’ve set for myself, to really FOCUS. This applies also to my time with others. I used to be on a call with someone and be thinking about all the other things I needed to be doing. By being more strategic about my daily list, I now have the peace of mind to fully connect with others.
3. Flow – No matter what else crops up during the day (inspiration or disturbance), I can flow through it with ease, knowing that my TO-DOs are doable . . . or done!
Shoot – another list. Well, I guess some things just aren’t worth getting over completely.
If you’re a fellow list-lover, please chime in below with tips about how you manage your TO-DOs.
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Cortney McDermott – Co-founder & CEO, Chime
Cortney McDermott is an internationally sought after sustainability and communications expert. After nearly a decade in the Fortune 500 world, Cortney decided to turn her passions into her profession. “The real crisis humanity faces is not planetary. It’s personal. At the heart of every poor decision, flawed system, or unhappy person is wrong thinking. We may not realize it, but we shape our world. It’s up to us whether we do so intentionally or not.”
An award-winning author and official blogger for The Huffington Post, Cortney helps others understand how to shape their reality with intention. Her 7-Step process to personal and professional transformation starts with what she calls simplicating: cutting away the unnecessary so we can hone in on the strategies and actions that spark success, enhance value, and create a better world. “It’s amazing the opportunities that open up when you build a discipline around doing the right thing.” Cortney has advised global corporate leaders on sustainability, corporate communications, and business strategy. She has also served as an executive at Vanity Fair Corporation, Vice President at Sustainability Partners, professor of graduate studies for Top Ten universities, and chair of multiple global business organizations.
She’s done all this without sacrificing her life as a wife, mother, marathon runner and yogi in a small mountain village in the North of Italy. Join her and thousands around the world chiming in to Work Life Harmony.
Follow Cortney on Instagram and Twitter and Facebook.