A Simple Way to Get More Done

By: Ginger Hanson

Somebody once said “We overestimate what we can accomplish in a day and underestimate what we can accomplish in a year.” I believe that overestimation applies to a week as well. Raise your hand if your weekly to-do list is so long that you’re still working on last week’s list? I have a solution for you – a simple way to get more done.

Edit Your To-Do List

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One Sunday my husband asked me, “What are the three things you want to get done this week?” I hadn’t thought of my weekly to-do list yet, so I quickly came up with the top three things I wanted to get done that week. The goal was that these things were not part of the usual daily routine like laundry or dishes, but small or large to-dos that were one-time occurrences that just need to get checked off the list. That became my to-do list for the week. I only focused on getting those three things done and not adding anything else. And guess what?! At the end of the week, I accomplished all three tasks!

You might think three things doesn’t sound like much…at all; that it’s not nearly enough to fill the list for a week. But that’s the secret! It just takes a few things on the list to make it reasonable enough to attain, but not so overwhelming that you put it off because it’s too much. We all have our work to-do list and we all have the tasks at home that are never ending as I’ve already mentioned like laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc. When you make your to-do list for the week, how big is it? How many items do you get checked off the list? In my experience, the more I put on the list, the less I get checked off the list. This happens at work and at home. Things happen. Stuff comes up. Plans change. But there’s something magical about the number three – it’s achievable and while it doesn’t seem like much, at the end of a week, when I check off all three in addition to my daily schedule, I’ve had a productive week.

If you find yourself constantly stuck with a list that’s a mile long and only gets longer week after week, try this. Not only will you feel accomplished instead of drowning at the end of the week, it will help you to prioritize the items that you truly need to get done.

For all of you over achievers out there, if this is too easy for you, then switch the focus from three things in a week to three things in a day.

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