Productivity for Solopreneurs: Insights to getting things done #122 / Two common to-do list mistakes and what to do about them

Two common to-do list mistakes and what to do about them

How effective is your to-do list?

I’ve found that most people have one in one form or another.

And sometimes we assume that everyone puts together a to-do list the way we do.

I’ve found that people are generally making one or two mistakes with their to-do lists and we’re going to talk about that today.

Mistake 1

Your to-do list is on whatever piece of paper or notebook that happened to be near you when you needed to write somethings down.

A side effect of this to-do list method is you keep thinking about all the things you have to do. Your mind is a constant stream of things to do.

This is because your brain is super smart (really it is) and it knows that you might not find that piece of paper or notebook when you’re at your desk ready to do that work.

What to do instead

Have ONE place you write your to-do lists.

You’re not creating your WHOLE planning and tracking system here, you’re starting with ONE small tweak that will help you develop a habit that supports your future planning/tracking system.

You might start with a smaller notebook that will easily fit in your purse or an app on your phone.

I’d suggest starting with a notebook and seeing how that goes for a bit.

Mistake 2

Your to-do list is in ONE place, but it’s a list of EVERYTHING that you need to do.

This is actually a good problem to have because it means that you’re writing things down (physically or digitally) and you know what needs to be done. 

What to do instead

Create a list of only what needs to be completed today or this week. The other things can be done in the coming weeks.

This allows you to set your priorities once a week and then you won’t have to decide on a daily or moment-to-moment basis what your priorities are.

Ideally, these things tie to your goals for the month, but again, it’s about doing one small tweak so that you start creating the habits that support your future habits and systems.


Now, you might be wondering why I’m not suggesting that you start with creating a planning/tracking system right off the bat.

My question for you is: have you tried jumping right into a planning system or goal tracking system before? Yes? How did that go?

What I find with my clients is they have a list of things they’ve tried (and planners in the closet with maybe a month filled out) and then something popped up, they got busy, or there was some other disruption.

The new system took a lot of time and effort to keep up with because the habits around it hadn’t developed yet. So, it all fell apart.

Instead, look at the small steps you can take or one habit you can develop that will make a difference. When that step is completed or that habit developed, then you can add something else.

If you want to know what a couple of small tweaks that will make a big difference for you, reach out to schedule a complimentary session with me. You can do that by commenting or filling out the Contact Me form on my website here: http://oneinsightcloser.com/contact-me


PRODUCTIVITY FOR SOLOPRENEURS: INSIGHTS TO GETTING THINGS DONE #122

Insights to getting things done #121 / What to do when you don't feel like setting goals

What to do when you don’t feel like setting goals

Have you ever had a period in your business where you didn’t have any goals?

You were just trying to figure out what worked and what didn’t and you’d set your goals when you had more information or data.

I know I have and I’ve seen some of my clients go through it.

It can come from having too many weeks or months of not meeting the goals you set for yourself. So, you’re not feeling a sense of completion and maybe even wondering if you’re cut out for running a business.

Feeling like that or going through those times does NOT mean that you’re not cut out for running a business.

What it does mean is that you might need to tweak a couple of things.

This can be:

  • Evaluating the things you’re doing and noticing what’s working, what’s not working, and what could be working better
  • Noticing the things that are on your do-later list that you actually want to be doing now
  • Noticing the things that you’re not doing because they’re outside your comfort zone
  • Setting a super doable goal for yourself this month so you can feel that very important and confidence-building sense of completion
  • Noticing any patterns around where you tend to stop moving forward
  • Looking at the goals or intentions that you’re not meeting and asking what information, skills, or connections do you need to more easily meet that goal

When you’re feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, or like things just aren’t working out for you give yourself some grace. Acknowledge what you’re feeling and get curious about what might be going on.

Having someone else to talk to through this can be super helpful.

If this is something that’s happening for you right now, reach out & let’s talk. The easiest way to do that is to leave a comment or fill out the Contact Me form here http://oneinsightcloser.com/contact-me


PRODUCTIVITY FOR SOLOPRENEURS: INSIGHTS TO GETTING THINGS DONE #121

Productivity for Solopreneurs: Insights to getting things done #120 / How do you prioritize the importance of doing in contrast to strategizing?

How do you prioritize the importance of doing in contrast to strategizing?

Someone recently asked me how I prioritize the importance of doing in contract to strategizing (or planning).

She said that she finds DOING is 10x’s better than having a perfect strategy.

But it can be a whole bunch of work in the wrong direction, which isn’t great either.

So what do you do?

I want to start by saying that there is no perfect strategy.

In our desire to have the impact and results that we want we can get caught up in doing things the “right” way.

And a lot of us can get so caught up in creating and executing that perfect strategy that we keep putting off the thing we’re actually trying to accomplish.

We plan and plan and plan and plan.

When we start the work, we want it to be done so very well, that the end date keeps getting pushed back and we don’t end up with the results or the impact that we wanted.

Basically, you can end up procrastinating something important through a desire to do it perfectly.

You might forget that it’s important to make progress, and not wait for perfection.

It’s a whole lot better to get something out there that’s imperfect, unfinished, or unnamed (as the case may be) than to wait for things to be *just* right or perfect.

And you also need to balance that with planning.

You don’t want the only thing you’re consistent about to be that you’re throwing undercooked spaghetti at the wall and wondering why NOTHING ever sticks.

Meaning, if you do that once, fine. Learn from it and maybe cook the spaghetti a bit more next time.

In other words, do it badly first, then look at what worked and what didn’t.

You have a start.

No one else is going to think you did it badly because they didn’t go into with the HUGE expectations that you did, they’re ONLY seeing what happened.

Let’s take it into more personal terms.

A week from today I’m hosting a 1/2 day workshop.

It’s the first time I’ve hosted a workshop in over 3 years and the content is completely different.

But it is material I’ve taught before, so I don’t have to completely write new content.

When I started planning it I thought I should host it in a hotel, have tables with white table cloths that hit the floor, have a microphone, maybe be recorded, and have the perfect powerpoint presentation (or slide deck).

And I thought that before I started marketing it I should have all the marketing planned out, the fliers created, the social media posts and images created, all emails written, and a list of everyone that I wanted to call and personally invite written.

And that FREAKED me out. Because it meant I needed about 2 1/2 months of lead time and for the timing with some other things I wanted to happen to work I needed the workshop to happen in about 6 weeks.

So, I reset my expectations.

What absolutely needed to be done now so that I could start sharing this workshop 3-4 weeks out from it happening?

What could I work on and figure out during that 3-4 weeks before the event?

And what expectations can I let go of this time around to have more time for some other more important things?

It was more important for me to get it out there for the first time and have some experience with it than to try to get everything perfect the first time.

Sometimes it’s about doing enough planning so you can start moving in the right direction.

Again, it’s about making progress and not waiting for perfection.


PRODUCTIVITY FOR SOLOPRENEURS: INSIGHTS TO GETTING THINGS DONE #120

Productivity for Solopreneurs: Insights to getting things done #119 / Annoying or motivational? "We all have the same 24 hours in a day."

Annoying or motivational? “We all have the same 24 hours in a day.”

Is there a quote that most everyone finds super uplifting or motivational, but it just does NOT do that for you? It might even annoy the heck out of you.

I’d love it if you left me a comment with the quote and why it bugs you.

“We all have the same 24 hours in a day. How are you spending yours?”

Or sometimes it’s written as: You have the same number of hours in the day as Einstein/Mother Teresa/Steve Jobs/Beyoncé/etc.

UGH.

Intellectually, I get that I’m supposed to hear that and think something like “YES! I can do anything I put my mind too!”

Instead, I’m transported back in time.

Back to when I was about a year in my business and heard this for the very first time.

I was overwhelmed, frustrated, and tired. My business was making negative money while I was doing A LOT of work.

I heard this quote and wanted to cry or scream.

All those other people had created success with their 24 hours, but I had put myself in debt, worn myself out, saw NO path out, and deeply felt whatever the opposite of success is.

I felt guilty that I hadn’t figured something fundamental out that they seemed to know and I compared everything I knew about myself to everything I knew about “successful people.”

And boy, oh boy, I judged myself harshly under that light.

Here’s the problem: I didn’t think about all the overwhelmed, frustrated, tired, self-doubt filled days that those “successful people” had.

I only saw their successes.

But I compared my worst days to their best.

And I couldn’t help but feel like someone ahead of me on the path said “catch this great tidbit of knowledge that I’m tossing to you” and I looked up just in time for a brick to hit me in the forehead and knock me to the ground.

Ouch!

Next time can I have a hug instead?

What would have been helpful, had I had the ears to hear it, was a gentle reminder that I was comparing the messy day-to-day that I felt I was slogging through to the perfectly lit and cropped picture that someone else was sharing.

Which reminds me of a couple of other quotes:

  • Don’t compare your inside to someone else’s outside.
  • Don’t compare your behind-the-scenes to someone else’s highlight reel.

Final thoughts:

  • If a motivational quote really bothers you, it’s okay. And it could be an indicator that you’re stressed or overwhelmed, which is valuable knowledge. Once you recognize it, you can do something about it.
  • If you share a motivational quote and the other person doesn’t hear it the way you do, don’t make them wrong about their interpretation. But do notice it and get curious. You might ask how they interpreted the quote and have a nice discussion about it. And they might leave feeling a bit better!

All this talk about my frustration with this quote has made me wonder if there’s a quote that you’ve beaten yourself up with in the past OR if there’s one that transports you back in time, in a positive or negative way.

I’d love it if you’d share it in the comments below.

PRODUCTIVITY FOR SOLOPRENEURS: INSIGHTS TO GETTING THINGS DONE #119

Productivity for Solopreneurs: Insights to getting things done #118 / Why you need to know the question behind the question

Why you need to know the question behind the question

One of the things I ask the members of the Unnamed Productivity Club each week is “what questions do you have?”

I encourage them to write down the questions they have even if they’re not for me or the group.

This is because before you can get the answers you’re looking for, you need to know the question you’re asking.

But sometimes we don’t go deep enough with our questions.

We think the question is: how do I get more clients?

You might do a search and find someone that’s offering something that promises you 10 new clients by the end of the month!

You sign up, or even invest in a program, only to realize that the program is all about the sales conversation and this doesn’t actually help you because you’re not getting people to a sales conversation.

Instead, the question might be: how do I have more sales conversations? Or: how do I meet more people?

Another example.

We think the question is: How do I find more time in my day?

But the question might really be: How do I stay focused on the things I want to do today and not get sidetracked?

What are the questions you have?

If you’re not sure, ask yourself what you need to know or learn for your business right now to reach your goals (or to reach your goals a bit faster).

Then, go a bit deeper and see if you can find the question behind that question.

PRODUCTIVITY FOR SOLOPRENEURS: INSIGHTS TO GETTING THINGS DONE #118