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Is your to-do list dysfunctional?

Imagine this:

You're building a new website (ahem...) You might be tempted to write something like "work on website" on your to-do list. So then every time you sit down to work, "work on website" is what looms at you from the page. You're never sure what the next right step is or how to pick up where you left off.  You've been working at it for weeks, but it's still not done, so you don’t get to cross anything off the list.

You know the feelings that follow: frustration, irritation, and that anxiety of feeling like you haven’t done enough.  

Weirdly, the problem might be that you didn’t add enough items to your to-do list.

I know this seems counterintuitive, but breaking down what you have to do into annoyingly small parts can be VERY effective at actually making progress.

What I’m saying is, add as many tasks as possible to your to-do list.

When you’re tempted to write “work on website” on your list, take a minute and break it down into smaller, more doable chunks. “Work on website” might feel clear to you, but a website redesign is a big-ass project made up of a ton of smaller tasks. Consider instead "make header graphic for homepage" or "write copy for about page" or "research pop-up plug-ins."

To reiterate, a task is a discrete action, something that can be accomplished in one sitting, while a project is multifaceted and by definition requires coordination of multiple parts.

At first all this writing might seem like a waste of time ("I don't have time to write all these things down! I'm trying to Get Shit Done!"). But trust me, having a clear plan is paramount for accomplishing what you've set out to do.

When you put a project on your task list (“Work on website”), you get stuck, too paralyzed to begin because you don’t know where to start. But when you break down a project into tasks (Write about page copy”), you can take action. And one action leads to more.

Momentum coupled with a clear action plan can keep you from falling into inertia and overwhelm.

When you know where you're going, you're that much more likely to actually end up there. And when you can honestly cross things off your list, you accomplish more, feel better about your work, and BONUS, you might end up feeling better about yourself too.

INQUIRY: Can you implement this shift in thinking? What else keeps you from finishing what you start?

ACTION: Write a new to-do list for yourself that includes only TASKS and no projects. Take a picture of your new list and send it to me for some external accountability. #getshitdone

Much love,


P.S. The next round of Get Shit Done starts October 7. Click here for more info or to sign up!