007 Two-Do Lists - Your Productivity (& Mood) Will Skyrocket
Today we are going to go over something that is very important – a small tip. And this tip is so small that you might think it’s insignificant. Thinking that is going to be a massive mistake because this small tip can completely transform your life.
Transform is a word that is thrown around a lot lately, especially in the self help space. I am not doing that right now. This tip is truly going to transform your life if you apply what we are going to cover right now.
For those of you who are in the Simple Rules of Influence masterclass, or who have taken that before, you will recognize this as a component of rule number seven. But this one tip is enough. You don't need to take the masterclass. You don't need to dive into all that stuff.
Just this one thing can really change how you respond to the world, how you show up, who you are. It can change your state. It can change your relationships. All these can be achieved by managing your own to-do list.
You might think, “What? Managing my to-do list?” What does that have to do with my relationships? What does that have to do with my job, my career?
I'll tell you what the connection is. It can affect your state when you get things done in the right way. When you get the right things done in the right order, with the right energy, you transform your life.
Here's what I do with my own to-do list; I make a list of all the things I have to do, like a complete brain dump. Now, I happen to do it in mind maps but you don't necessarily have to do that. I used to do this on paper, too.
So, I just do a brain dump of everything I have to do. Everything I have to do at home. Everything I have to do at work. Everything I have to do with the community. Anything that I have to do; it might be related to the house, or my relationship with my wife, or my kids, or my in-laws, or my parents. It might be related to a project that I'm working on, or it might be related to something I'm working on for myself, like my own health or my own character. Whatever it is, I write it all down. That’s what you need to do.
First, set time aside and make sure you are alone. Lock the door if you have to. I actually have a hat that says, “Let me focus”. When I wear that hat, people don't interrupt me because they see, the “Let me focus” sign. So, close the door. Go somewhere else. Go to a completely different setting, where people aren't expecting to find you, and just sit down and brain dump all the stuff you have to do.
You might wonder why. Because that will help you take the next step. And the next step is where the magic happens. Once you write everything down, put them in two columns. Separate them into the ones you like to do (or love to do) and the ones you don't like to do. Very simple, right?
Then, here's what you do. Spend time on the ones you like. Spend money on the ones you don't. Now, you may think, “I don't have money to spend on these other tasks”. Well, okay. Put them in order. Prioritize the ones that you don't like in order of least liking. And put your money there. Or find another way to have these tasks completed.
Because you know what? Somebody in the world loves to do what you hate to do and you love to do what somebody else hates to do. Get them together.
In my productivity coaching sessions, one of the things that I cover is that when you are faced with a decision on doing something, you have choices. The first is “Do it”. Great. “Can I do this?” Great. If you can't do it, great. The next is, “Maybe I should delegate”. But maybe you don't want to delegate. If you don't delegate, then eliminate. Get rid of it. You could also automate it. Those are your choices.
When it comes to delegation, you can delegate a task to other people on your team. You can delegate to somebody you know who happens to love doing that thing. That might be a friend, or a family member, or a colleague that just loves to do that thing. Or you can outsource. Go to a site like Fiverr, or Upwork, or Freelancer, and all these other sites that are out there for outsourcing. You can find people nearby that will do things, on Craigslist or TaskRabbit. There are all kinds of opportunities for you to find somebody who loves to do the thing you hate to do.
Why is this transformative? It is transformative because you know what it's like when you are slogging through something you don't like to do. You might be procrastinating. You might actually be building up bad habits for putting stuff off and avoiding things you have to do.
But at the same time, when you sit down to do them, it affects your mood. It affects how you relate with others. It affects how your day goes. It affects how you arrive at home when the day is done. It affects how you arrive at work in the morning.
Delegate things to someone on your team or outsource them. When you do that, you are freeing up time to spend time on the things you love. And when you do that, your mood is better. It's more appropriate. You get energy just by changing your to-do list.
Simply separate the list into two columns: “the tasks I like” and “the tasks I don't like”. Then, spend money on the ones you don't like and spend time on the ones you like. It’s very simple. And then what happens? You are spending time on the things you like. Isn't that what you want to do?
Spend time on the things you like and spend money on the ones you don't.
If you don't have resources, be resourceful.
How can you be resourceful? Find somebody who loves the thing you don’t want to do. Sometimes people just love it, especially experts. Not that they will necessarily do the thing for you, but they will accelerate your learning if there's something you have to learn. Reach out to somebody and say, “Hey, do you know how I can do this?” They could tell you or teach you in a few moments what would have taken you a long time to learn. People love to talk about what they love. They love to talk about their craft. They love to talk about their expertise. They love to talk about the things they are interested in.
But, in general, the tasks in your to-do list should be completed by spending time on the things you like, and money on the ones you don't.
Let me just give you a quick tip on how to practically implement these things. Let's say my wife proposes we go to the park with the kids but I feel like I have to go do something. Well, here's what I'll do.
I will log into Fiverr or Upwork. Or I will use a service called Fancy Hands which is something like virtual assistant, but it's task based. If I feel like I should work on something, I will post a job very quickly on Fancy Hands. It is basically an email to a virtual assistant which asks them, “Hey, can you do X, Y, Z research?” e.g. “Find all of the businesses or organizations that do X, Y, Z and put in a spreadsheet their name, their web address, and the price they offer.” Then, I go out for ice cream and the work is being done. 20 to 30 minutes later I get an email with the work being done. Even my downtime feels like uptime. It feels like I was productive. And in fact I was.
This is what I recommend: Take the things you love to do and do them. Take the things you don't like to do and have someone else do them. Spend time on the ones you like. Spend money on the ones you don’t. Try it. It will transform your life.
If you’re a busy professional who wants to have incredible success at work and at home (without neglecting those who matter most), then check out The Influence Playbook at https://www.influenceplaybookmonthly.com