Current e-Journal

How to Get Everything on Your To-Do List Done
- January 29, 2018

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January 29, 2018

45939902 - woman businessman with giant alarm clock

If there were 3 of me,
and 48 hours in a day,
I still couldn't get it all done..

You Won't Get It All Done. Now what?

The fear of not getting everything done is a conversation that comes up repeatedly in our Catalytic Thinking in Action community. 

Somehow that mode has become a big part of modern life. And no matter what career move we make, or what productivity or time management tool we try, we still feel like there will never be enough time to get it all done…

That rut is actually not about what we are DOING. It is about how we are THINKING. That is why all those productivity journals and time management tools only get us so far.

That is where Catalytic Thinking comes in... 

Try this:
This week’s practice will help you listen to your own self talk through the reality lens of Catalytic Listening, and then use the causality lens of Catalytic Decision-making to bring out the best in yourself and your situation.

Thinking Step #1: Separate Reality from the Stories You’re Telling Yourself
As you listen to your own self-talk about the anxiety of not having enough time, it is important to separate reality from the stories you are telling yourself about that reality.

And the reality is that you will not get it all done.

You can argue with that fact, feel horrible about it, deal with it, face it head on, give in to it, embrace it – but regardless of how you feel about it or the stories you tell yourself about it, that’s the reality. There will always be more on that list than you could possibly do, even if you had 48 hour days and an army of helpers.

That is because to-do lists are a reactive compilation of both your own wants and needs, AND the wants and needs of everyone around you. And we all add to that list of wants and needs all the time. Which means that no matter how many things you cross off that list, the list will keep growing.

So Step #1 is acknowledging and breathing in that reality.

Thinking Step #2: Prioritize
Because not everything is going to get done, it is important for you to make mindful decisions about what will get done, in what order. That is where Catalytic Decision-making comes in. Because every action you take will be creating the future, for you and for those around you, whether you do so mindfully or not.

The following two questions will lead to more mindful decision-making as you prioritize.

1) What criteria do you want to use for making the decisions about your time?
Your decision-making criteria will create the cause-and-effect path towards the results you want to create.

Here are some criteria we find useful in our own decision-making at Creating the Future:

• Will this item significantly move us forward in our mission?
• Will this item significantly engage more people / build ripples and relationships for our mission?
• Will this item create a system or template that will create ease for future work?
• Is this item under deadline?
• Is this item stopping someone else from moving forward?
• Is this item fixing a liability?

These are the sorts of questions that help to separate “urgent” from “important” from simply reacting to the last person who asked you for something.

2) Where do the items on my to-do list rank with these priorities?
Prioritizing is about weighing all the items on your to-do list against those criteria AND against each other. It's not enough to know that Item #1 addresses 3 of your criteria. It's about comparing that to how many criteria are addressed by all the other items as well!

The simplest tool for that weighting process is a matrix. The video class here will jump-start you for creating your own matrix. (Subscribe to our YouTube channel to get notified when we post new classes!)

Thinking Step #3: Moving Forward
It is easy to let deadlines and/or other people’s demands derail the goals that will move your mission forward, whether that is a personal mission or an organizational mission.

As you prioritize each day, remember that you have the freedom to choose to set aside time for those forward-reaching goals. Whether that is the first hour of your day, or lunchtime, or whenever makes sense for you, the key to moving from reacting to the past and the present, to begin creating the future, lies with your prioritizing that intention every day.

By listening to our self-talk, and making mindful decisions that create causality towards the results you want to create, you will be creating conditions towards the results you want to see – in your life, in your business or organization, in the systems you encounter every day. And that is what Catalytic Thinking makes possible!

Want to learn alongside other people who are also trying out Catalytic Thinking practices? Join our Catalytic Thinking in Action community on Facebook - a welcoming place where you can ask questions and learn from people like you who are experimenting with these practices. We look forward to seeing you there!

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