A Never Ending To Do List

I used to work with a woman who loved to make lists. She created endless pages of everything that needed to be done, and more pages of things she and her team were working on.

At first, we were all in awe. She seemed so on-top of what would be required to succeed. However, our awe quickly turned into frustration as week after week she reported more additions to the list, but never seemed to complete anything. I will never forget the day our CEO stopped her as she rattled through another long list of to-dos.

He cleared his throat to get her attention and then he said, “I am sorry to interrupt, but please don’t overwhelm us with everything you think you have to do. We want to be overwhelmed by what you’ve finished.”

The room was quiet and so was she. Then the excuses started. They were as long as the list of to-do’s. A few weeks later she quit.

It was a great lesson to me. “We want to be overwhelmed by what you’ve finished” comes back to me again and again.

Months later I became a productivity consultant. Now, I spend my time teaching The 5 Choices of Productivity. These choices help me to remember that this life isn’t about getting hung up on all the things I should do. It is about choosing the most important things, aligning them with my highest priorities, and getting them done! Knowing the 5 Choices has freed me from the long lists I used to make.

Now I am more likely to set my sights on my most important “To-Do’s”, carving time and space into my schedule so I can accomplish them. I find great satisfaction in my smaller more targeted lists. These days, I’m not feeling overwhelmed. Instead, I feel on task. Working diligently to complete a few goals at a time makes me feel accomplished and energized.

Contributed by Suzette Blakemore, Regional Productivity Practice Leader, FranklinCovey