In my article Three Ways to Optimize Your Day, I suggest that the ways we view and manage our “to do” lists can have a major impact on the way we experience our day. One of the big issues with such lists is that they often contain an overwhelming number of irrelevant items that raise our stress levels without bringing us any closer to achieving our desired outcomes. Here is how you can ensure that the items on your “to do” list help you achieve your goals rather than serve as obstacles to your success.

  1. Make a conscious decision to use your “to do” list to help shape how you will experience the coming day.

  2. Identify what that experience will be like. For example, “Today I choose to appreciate others.”

  3. Identify one specific business outcome.

  4. List the actions required to complete that outcome.

  5. Review that list to:

    1. Ensure each action truly supports the outcome.
    2. Determine whether you are the best person to complete the action. If not, delegate the task!
    3. Identify ways that you can appreciate others as you are completing the items.
  6. As you check off the items, remind yourself what end(s) each one serves - i.e., keep in mind how each one brings you a step close to achieving the big picture.

  7. Repeat steps 1-6 every day.

Pat Lynch, Ph.D., is President of Business Alignment Strategies, Inc., a consulting firm that helps clients optimize business results by aligning people, programs, and processes with organizational goals. You may contact Pat or call (562) 985-0333.

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