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Make Your To-Do List More Fun - Instantly

Here's one short leadership coaching tip you can action immediately. Today's post takes about 3 minutes to read. It is one of the simplest leadership and management skills I teach my clients.

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash


The Tip


How many to-do lists do you have?

Count them up. Go on. 1, 2, 3...

There will be general work ones, project ones, backlog ones. Then there will be the parenting ones, the socialising ones, the home-managing ones.

Don't forget the mental ones. The "I must not forget to do this" ones. The "must empty my inbox ones".

Have you ever gone so far as to have a list of to-do lists?

Now I want you to reflect for a moment and ask yourself?

Will there ever be a moment where there is nothing to do?

Take a moment to turn that over in your mind.

Once you have done that I want you to sweep all of them to one side and start a new one. But at the top of this one write:

It would be fun to...

Fill this list with all of the things that are on your mind to do that would give you pleasure. This can be personal, social or professional.

And when you've done that, make that list your priority for the next week.

It will give you a spring in your step, I promise 🦘

How it Works

The magic here is in the realisation that there will never be an end to the list of things to do. But we can choose to have a different relationship with the things to be done. We can choose to accept that there will never be a moment when we can say, "yeah, I finished everything".

By choosing to put our personal desires first, we give our energies to the the things that will give us energy.

Which creates a virtuous circle, in which we get more and more done, while worrying less and less about the things we haven't done.

The more you do it, the better it gets too 😃

If You Are Coaching Someone

Sometimes people can be a little resistant to this idea. They say,

Yes, but I don't get to choose what I do. I have deadlines, expectations...

Of course, that is true.

But it is also true that we are constantly trading tasks from a to-do list. There are always things we are not getting to, delaying, or doing under sufferance.

So there are two suggestions I make:

  1. Re-framing: try turning "I hate doing the HR paperwork" into "It would be fun not to have to think about the HR paperwork because it is done."

  2. Re-prioritising: if you are not going to finish everything today anyway, why not do the things that are fun?

Either way, it makes the work more enjoyable.

Which is pretty cool 😎 don't you think?

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