You’re trying to do too much. You’ve got to be realistic. You will never, ever finish all the things that are currently sitting in your to-do list. You just won’t. It’s like your eyes are bigger than your belly. You walk into the buffet and you see it all and you want it but you can really only fit enough for a plate.
So what we want to do is reduce it down to the essential marbles. Is it easier carrying a few marbles around in your backpack than bowling balls? it’s amazing. You can run, you can get so much done. So the technique here is we need to reduce, we need to reduce. Just less stuff. So ditch your to-do lists. I know what you’re thinking. Do you remember this? Just curious, who’s looking at this picture and does not know who this person is? I thought there’d be about 20 percent of the room. Okay, this guy’s famous saying, “What you talkin’ ’bout Willis?” I mean it’s crazy.
But I bet you your to-do list is an anchor around your neck like just this chain is dragging you. And every time you look at it, it’s burning up neurons and you’re just getting stressed out about it. It’s causing you anxiety. Like I basically just stopped worrying about to-do lists. And it’s amazing. Things seem to float to the top if they’re important, but you can actually organize this in a structured way.
So the first step is list all your tasks, like just write down absolutely everything in your mind, pull out all your to-do lists, like from the cupboard, in the drawer, in your iPhone, and your Trello board, and your Asana, and your little scraps of Post-its, pull them all out, and then start sorting them. But before you do that, there’s one essential step that will save you a whole heap of time.
And that’s delete. Like, whenever you realistically think and go, ‘This is just ridiculous,’ get rid of it. Or if you’re super worried about it, like just do the Woody Allen technique. And that’s where you basically put it in the bottom drawer and ignore it. So every year, he’s thinking of ideas for his film, and he produces a feature film every year, and he just pulls out his drawer, tips it on the bed and goes through all these ideas, picks one, and puts the rest back. And then he goes and makes the film. I like that technique, it’s probably the best takeaway I got from the documentary about him. So I like that technique.
So what I do very occasionally, I’ll just put everything in my mind, you know, from my life sheet or my bits of paper, whatever, I’ll just put it all out. And then I’ll categorize it. I’ll pick a couple of things. And then I’ll just put it away again. I might look at a bunch of lists or notes, maybe once every four or five months. I can go a long time without looking at my to-do list because stuff gets done.
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