Getting Real With Your Lists 04.17.2008
Here is what I want you to do…
Take out your lists. This may be one single big list of to do items like Princess Bethany likes to keep. If you are a Getting Things Done practitioner, you probably have several lists – all broken neatly into contexts, a someday/maybe, etc. For you, the someday/maybe might be a good place to start… But, I am getting ahead of myself. Go ahead, take them all out. Get them all spread out where you can see each and every task/project/hope/dream/etc.
OK, do you have them all out? Good. Now, take a long look at that pile. Really soak it all in. Got it? Great. Here is what I want you to do next. Go through each and every task and ask the following question:
> “Am I really going to do this?”
Seriously. Be honest… Get real.
If there is even a question in your mind about it. If it is something that would be better done (and actually done) by someone else get it to them like the hot potato it should be. If it is something that sounds good in theory but you know, deep down, will never happen, then kill it. Kill it dead.
Your to-do list should be a sacred place. It should be filled only with the things you really plan on doing, are consistently evaluating and are taking active steps move items forward and to get those things done.
Now I know what you GTD folks are thinking…
> “But that is why I have a someday/maybe list. It is for things I maybe, kind of, would like to do someday.”
Um… Well, yes, maybe that is what you think it is for. You would be wrong.
Here is the deal, if you are not including that Someday/Maybe list as part of a regular review (weekly or otherwise) and going through each item regularly, evaluating it, tying to figure out how and when to move it forward, put it into an active project state, or otherwise getting it done – it should be gone. If you are indefinitely deferring things there and are always saying “maybe”, “not now”, “someday” to those items – they are your weakest link. Are you really going to learn Chinese? Learn how to ski? Buy that big fishing boat? What are you doing to make those things happen? Is it possible to Call to enroll in a Chinese language class at the local community college? When? Today? Then do it. Don’t dream it. Don’t defer it. Don’t try to “hope” it into reality. Do it. Pick up that phone and make that call.
All I am trying to say here is be really honest with yourself about your intentions. If you have an item (or several) on that list that you always glance over, perhaps it should not be there in the first place. Don’t set yourself up for failure. If there is something you really want to do or need to do, then don’t half commit to it by parking the idea somewhere and never really looking at it again. Define what it will take to get that item to the next level and try to commit time to do just that.