Over on Change Bit By Bit, Tana Pesso talks about the over-worked stress so many people that gets in the way of either productivity or enjoying life, or both.
She suggests beginning your day with a realistic to-do list and (here's the kicker) actually sticking with it.
That got me thinking about my own experience with to-do lists. On the one hand, they're an invaluable tool to help me keep moving forward and making things happen. On the other hand, the items on my to-do lists have this tendency to breed like bunnies.
I keep my daily to-do list up on a whiteboard. Every once in a while the list gets so out of control I end up just taking an eraser to the whole thing, on the theory that if it's really important, it will find it's way back to a new list. Probably not the best approach, but it seems to work for me. ;-)
I like Tana's focus on sticking with a realistic, doable to-do list each day. Ticking off the items on your list until every last thing is done feels good. It feels like you're in control of your journey, rather than chasing after a runaway train.
Of course, just because you're committing to a realistic to-do list doesn't mean that more to-do's won't pop up as the day progresses. Rather than adding them to today's to-do list, how about taking a dual list approach? A to-do-today list and a to-do-eventually list.
Each morning your could look at your to-do-eventually list and say, "OK, what here do I want to do today?" (And remember - keep it realistic!)
If something new pops up that you absolutely have to take care of today, think of your to-do-today list as a glass full to the rim with water. You can pour more in, but some of the existing contents is going to spill out. When you add more to your to-do-today list, follow it with the question, "Now what do I reassign to the to-do-eventually list."
In the end, it's about making sure that your to-do lists serve you well, rather than letting them control your life.
Brought to you by Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst TM