6 Steps to Finish Your To-Do List
Look, if you want to finish your to-do list you simply cannot think in terms of time management and balance. The idea that you need to do less of something to do more of another will not work. You cannot reach your full potential if you sacrifice family time for work, work time for community, or community for anything else.
I’m not interested in balance; I’m interested in abundance.
I want abundance in every area of my life; professional career, family life, income, financial wealth, physical life, spiritual life and recreational life.
If you want to become successful you must think in terms of ‘all’ whereas others often place limits on themselves. They might believe that, “If I am rich, I can’t be happy,” or, “If I thrive in my career, then I won’t have time to be a good father, mother, husband, neighbor, church member, or spiritual individual.” This way of thinking is flawed and neither time management nor the idea of balance can resolve it. Quit thinking in terms of either/or and start thinking all-in and everything.
If you start with your commitment to success and then agree to control time, you will create an agenda—a to-do list—that accommodates all you want in life. These six steps help you get started on that:
1. Specific Priorities.
No one can do this for you, of course. Everyone’s priorities are different, but if success is a goal then I would suggest you spend the most amount of your time doing things that will create success for you. Your success could involve any variety of people or things: finances, family, happiness, spirituality, physical or emotional wellbeing—or if you’re like me, all of them. Remember, you can have success in all of them.
2. Power Base.
You cannot succeed at collapsing your to-do list and accomplish all your tasks without your power base—your family, your colleagues, associates, and employees—being all-in for your success. Without it these people with different agendas can pull you in all sorts of directions. My schedule works because everyone in my life, from my wife to the people who work with me, knows that is most important to me and they understand how I value time. This agreement allows us to handle everything else that comes our way.
3. Track It.
You must track how you spend your time. This isn’t a new concept or idea, but most people have no clue what they do with their time. Those same people then complain that they don’t have enough time to become successful. If you don’t know how much time you have—or need—how can you expect to control it?
If you log your time, perhaps in a journal, this will help you see all the ways in which you waste it. Any little habits and activities that in no way contribute to your success are a waste of your time. Any action that isn’t adding wood to your fire, things like mobile games, TV, napping, drinking, partying. If you don’t manage your time you will waste it.
4. Schedule Priorities.
When our daughter was born my wife and I built a new routine around our daughter’s sleep schedule and our current priorities. We agreed that I would get up an hour earlier and take my daughter out with me. This gave me quality time with my daughter before I went into the office and gave Elena, my wife, an extra hour to sleep.
When I bring my daughter back from the outing my day is mine for work. Because I am able to get my daughter up so early we can put her to bed before 7 PM and my wife and I then have time together as a couple.
5. Maximize Time.
The richest person in the world has 1,440 minutes in a day to earn their money. The most educated person in the world has 168 hours a week to learn. The greatest athlete in the world has 365 days a year to train. How much time do you have? You have the same amount of time as me, as your neighbor, as Bill Gates, as Donald Trump—the only way to increase time is to get more done in the time you have.
Consider the expression, “time is money.” What does it mean to you and how can you treat time to make sure your time is money? Think carefully about what is the most important thing that you should do with your time.
One way to maximize your time is to simply find ways to increase your productivity in every aspect of your life. Another approach is to make it a race, a challenge—make it fun.
If I get 15 phone calls done in 15 minutes and you get 15 calls done in one hour, then I have effectively created 45 minutes for myself to use on other ways to create my success. If I hire someone and pay them $15 an hour to make 15 calls every 15 minutes when I just duplicated my efforts and my time becomes money.
6. Modify Priorities.
Things will change throughout the course of your life. You set goals, achieve goals and set new goals. Different things and different people will enter your world. The busier you become the more you have to manage, control, and prioritize.
When I became a parent my daughter gave me another reason to create success—instead of an excuse to avoid work. Our schedules will continue to change as my daughter grows up. But we are controlling our time rather than just haphazardly trying to manage it without actually tracking it.
Whether you want to work out more, spend more time with your family, spend more time growing your business or contributing more to your community you need to control your time. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. What are you doing with yours?
Most people know the saying, “time is money,” but most people don’t have money because they don’t value time!