Life comes at us fast. The best-laid plans get pushed aside when more urgent items arise. One way to stay on top of things is to keep an active to-do list. Plans are not straight lines that work exactly as they might appear on paper, said Sunny Klein Lurie, Ph.D., chief executive officer of Fast Focus Careers. Having a to-do list you refresh often gives you a greater advantage to take action and get things done for your career.
Remember, Dr. Lurie added, with no specific targets, it is tougher to achieve end results. Keeping goals visually and refreshed as often as possible, you can avoid getting sidetracked.
Your to-do list should reflect the top four actions that must get done today. By designating these actions as priorities, you are more likely to get them done in a timely manner. Don’t fret about checking them off in perfect order. That’s not realistic, Dr. Lurie said.
The best way to ensure you accomplish the items on your to-do list is to make it a ritual in your life. The more you make it a ritual, the better the probability that you will follow through with it. If you have to decide continuously what to do throughout the day, the more difficult it is to make it happen.
Keep your to-do list manageable. Plain and simple, if your list is too long, it is difficult to achieve, Dr. Lurie advised. Be realistic about how much and what tasks you have to do. Consider your schedule for the day and what availability you have to complete additional tasks.
How to avoid procrastinating
Many people with great intentions at the beginning of their day slowly lose momentum. The biggest obstacle is avoiding action. There are a few ways to handle items you avoid, Dr. Lurie suggested.
Plan ahead to do the most challenging item at your peak performance time when you have the clearest thoughts and most energy to get through it faster.
Attach a personal incentive that gets you in the right frame of mind to do the work. For example, as a quick warm up to get ready for the task, go ahead and read entertainment news for a few minutes if that is something you enjoy doing. The point is to find a couple of activities that are more fun than work just to get you going.
If you hit a roadblock on accomplishing an item on your list, walk away for 10 minutes. Go outside, grab a snack and come back with renewed energy. If you really need a boost to make it through your list, consider a quick call with an upbeat person you know. Optimism is contagious.
By Terri Mrosko with Sunny Lurie, The Plain Dealer, Employment Section
Posted By Sunny Klein Lurie, Fast Focus Careers