19 Feb

No More Mindless “To Do” Lists

Why do you attempt to do the impossible? How many things are on your “to do” list this week? Ten? Twelve? Thirty-two?

As you look at the list are you already in anticipatory fear of what you won’t complete, and stressing if the things you did last we are “good enough.” Most of us secretly are.

We are slowly, mindlessly leading unhealthy companies and lives based on this one simple choice. Building impossible “to do” lists. Make a new choice mindfully reduce your stress monotask today. We are rewarded for driving, eating, and talking on the phone at the same time. All this adds up to mind-less-ness. Mindless means loss of productivity, team engagement, money and peace of mind.

Admit it you have parked at your office then suddenly realized you do not remember leaving your driveway or any part of the drive to work?

Admit it you look at the clock and wonder where the day has gone with your “to do” list left unchecked.

This week. Try Mindful mono-tasking. Yes. Mindfulness, the practice of being fully present in the moment can meet your “to do” list. Here’s your practice:

Write a “to complete” list not a “to do” list.

When I write a “to do” list it gets filled with every single thing I need to do this hour, day week, month, heck even year.  My head then gets filled with stress.  When the list is filled I look down and realize I’m overwhelmed and do nothing.

A “to complete” list is the 1-3 items that I will complete that day. Nothing more, nothing less goes on the list. I look at the list and my calendar to make sure those things are on the calendar.  When I write a “to complete” list my heart is happy knowing from the depths of my being I will be a success that day on those 1-3 items.

Once my “to complete” list is done, I breathe and know. I trust that I know what is on this list is the top priority and everything else can fall away. I get present to the present and get being so the doing gets done.

Need a little boost to try this, state an affirmation that you are able to complete the tasks and let go of those that won’t be completed without judgment.

When, and only when those “to complete” things are done do I add something else to my “to complete” list.

The practice of mindful “mono-tasking” takes a lot of practice. Yes, I have days that things sneak back on the list, you will also. You have to trust that the items that don’t get on your ‘to complete” list will show up on the date/time that you must complete them.

Over time this activity will help you practice setting firm boundaries of what you will do and what you will not. You may even hear yourself saying the most powerful complete sentence in our language. No. When someone approaches you with a task that you cannot complete that day. You will hear yourself building a more manageable life to lead and expectation for yourself and the culture of your organization.

Mindfulness is the practice of becoming fully present to you so you can be your best in the world. Give mono-tasking a try this week. Let me know how this expands your good in the world.

Holly Duckworth, CAE, CMP, LSP is a trailblazing speaker and executive coach. She works with stressed-out CEO's and executive leaders to create profits, peace, and presence. Our world has become mind less. Thru mindfulness practices Holly works with leaders to release beliefs that no longer serve resulting in more income and impact. After a keynote or training session with Holly you will activate new ideas and beliefs that make you and your company the highest and best it can be. Holly is a regular columnist for many publications including Science of Mind Magazine, Choices Magazine, MeetingsNet/IdeaExchange and a sought after thought leader in mindful leadership. Learn more at www.hollyduckworth.com, visit her on LinkedIn & follow her on twitter at @hduckworth.

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