To-Do and To-Do it Well


Neha Somani

Organizational & Counselling Psychologist

While To-Do Lists aid time management, they are also a lot about where we choose to focus our attention and also where we choose to not spend our energy.

There is an interesting tale about a war between a black wolf and a white wolf. Two wolves wee engaged in an epic battle. Both seemed to be equally strong. Nobody could predict which wolf would win. One wise person, however, said the wolf that was fed the most would win. In life too, the wolf that eventually wins the battle is the one we feed the most. Deep, isn’t it ?

Now let us ask ourselves:

1. Are we feeding our doubts more than our abilities ?
2. Are we feeding negative thoughts and starving the positive ones ?
3. Are we feeding things and people that suck our time and energy rather than serving those things that elevate our energy and productivity levels ?

Let’s read on to know how we can achieve peak performance by following a few simple techniques:

1. Starve the “energy vampires”

Vampires may not really exist, but energy vampires are a real thing. These are people who sap our mental and emotional energy. These people cling on to us for favors and free lunches (and when we cannot say “No” to them, these favors end up on your To-Do List). They weaken us with negative self-talk and indulge in gossiping. This leads to unnecessary wastage of time and has no benefit for us. This doesn’t mean we have to find a benefit in everything we do. People that drain us out and leave us with nothing positive or energizing deserve to be eased out of our lives.

2. Get, Set…. Action !

Ever noticed the word action has the word act in it. To say it simply, any item on our list that can’t be followed through with an action plan shouldn’t be there on our list. This will help us declutter the list and be more specific and clear with what we plan to do ahead. When it comes to bigger items, we can break them down into smaller chunks to make goals more achievable and to be able to clearly define each step.

3. Little things go a long way

When it comes to lists, the phrase ‘more the merrier’ does not really stand true. In fact, if we put too much on our plate ..err… list, we will set ourselves up for failure. Also, when we write too many things down, our mind is likely to get clouded. We won’t know where to start and there is a possibility that we will procrastinate the tasks at hand.

4. The magic ratio

An effective way to do this is by working on the ratio 1:3. This means choosing one of the three most important tasks from our list. We can identify 3 tasks from our list that are both urgent and important. Then out of these three huge and pressing tasks, we can choose the most difficult and daunting one and schedule them at the beginning of our day. That is when we have a lot of energy to get things done. The smaller tasks or the “fun” ones can be scheduled for the late part of the day when our energy levels are lower.

Following these absolutely easy rituals helps us make drastic changes in the way we do things and gives an impetus on our productivity. Remember… we can either run the day or the day will run all over us.

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