I admit it – my studio is in disarray. I’ve decided to reorganise it so I can make better progress writing and recording songs for you. So how do I handle chaos like this?
My true confession is I have often struggled with to-do’s having overdue tantrums and lists of important things lounging around uncompleted. There was always a pile of “I’ll do that” in the corner and a crowded closet of “when I get a chance” … most of the time I just felt like I was going backwards.
Don’t get me wrong – I want to be a super-organised over achiever, in fact my wife is a model of efficiency and effectiveness. She always seems to have it together ticking through her tasks while I feel more like a Ring Master trying to keep the “list lions” and “to-do tigers” from escaping the circus and mauling everyone in their path … including me!
So how have I calmed the chaos and started getting things done? In recent years I’ve discovered a few key things to help me get it all more under control. They simply work. And when I don’t follow these steps then the wheels start to come off … and I end up out of control (again)!
Here’s my 3 Step Solution to Taming To Do’s.
1. Do I Need To Do It?
I simply ask myself this question. Is this important or not. Is it something that will make a difference in someone’s life if I do it (or if I don’t do it)? If the answer is “Yes” then I know it’s got to be done. If the answer is “No” then I take a deep breath … and forget about it! I just don’t bother with it. “Put aside the things that weigh us down …”
2. Can I do it in 5 minutes?
For me this is a real clincher – I’ve found that if something is going to take 5 minutes and I do it right there and then I get an incredible momentum rolling through all sorts of obstacles. Now this doesn’t come naturally to me. If I’m left to myself I seem to put off things and the piles just grow more and more immense. This seemingly simple approach of doing the ‘thing’ in 5 minutes or less has helped me make huge progress. Before I tried this I would wind up thinking about all the other things I wouldn’t get done if I interrupted what I wasn’t doing to do a 5 minute ‘thing’. See how confusing and depressing that is :p
But by taking this approach the opposite has been true. If I knock something over in 5 minutes right there and then the effect is liberating and suddenly I find myself on a roll … and a while later I end up having achieved all sorts of other things as well.
3. Forget completing this – what is the simplest next thing to do?
I find that even if want to do something the task itself overwhelms me sometimes. I’m not talking about climbing Mount Everest here but things that seem so simple and small – just paying a bill or mowing the lawns or calling someone back can cause a blockage in my brain and seem too huge for me, paralysing me into doing nothing. That’s when breaking it down into the smallest task seems to get me started.
How does that work? If I have to call someone back sometimes I put it off because I’m not sure when to call or what to say or if I should do one of the other things instead … so instead of complicating it in my mind I break it down into the smallest possible step there is. Do I pick up the phone? No – before that I need the number. What I simply do is look up the person’s number – that’s it. The simplest smallest next step of getting their number is what gets me past my frozen inaction. Then ‘voila’, before I know it I’ve made the call, had a great conversation, and I’m putting the phone down ready to move onto something else.
So those are my 3 Simple Steps to Taming To Do’s. Stop trying to make it super complicated juggling all those things at once. Give these simple steps a try and see the difference they’ll make for you.
I want to see you achieve your dreams and reach your goals to rock this world but sometimes we’ve got to start with the simple things first
Have you got this disorganisation difficiency too? Want support and inspiration to get stuff done and fulfill your God given purpose? Then take this journey with me by getting a free song and my Backstage Pass below.