I’m going to show you how to knock stuff off of your long a** to-do list (and actually be excited about it).

How often do you get excited about work?
No really.
Is it often that you’re excited to conquer that never ending to-do list?
I didn’t think it was possible to get excited about doing work until I left the “corporate world” aka 9-5 and started doing what I love.
I thought, man I got this!
Deadlines shmedlines I said.
I’ll do it tomorrow I said.
Before I knew it I didn’t enjoy working anymore, even though I was technically doing what I love.
I got really overwhelmed and started pretty much drowning in my to-do list(s) – dreading the work that was in front of me – not because I didn’t enjoy it, but because it was too much.

My work was awesome (or so my clients say), but my time management skills sucked and my work was piling up and my deadlines would all seem to happen at the same time.
That is, until I finally came up with a system that not only allowed me to get everything done, but it allowed me to get it done with a SMILE and in a timely matter.

Going Through the Motions

Most of the time it isn’t the work that gets us, it’s the feeling we get knowing that we HAVE to do the work by a certain time, mix that with constant meeting reminder alerts, clients that paid you expecting you to be superwoman (or man), and 54 cups of coffee later you’re sitting there still looking at a long ass to do list, wondering if it’s ever going to disappear and how you’re ever going to make it out of this pile of crap weighing you down.
That pressure to not only get it done but also make it so amazing that your client tells the world how amazing you are can really be sort of a debbie downer should I say, so I found a way to conquer this, one thing at a time.
I haven’t done a #MoneyMakinMonday post in a while, so today I decided to fill you in on some of my most valuable productivity tips to help you conquer your to-do list with a smile. I’ve also included a few “productivity hacks” at the end.

NUMBER 1. Write Stuff Down to Hold Yourself Accountable

Since we’re discussing to-do lists, this one might seem a bit too obvious but still needs to be said. You must make sure that you’re writing stuff down. I personally am a pen and pad kinda girl but once my to-do list is finalized on paper, I use a white board with dry erasers to keep my to-do list right in front of my face and therefore embedded in my brain. Mine is right next to my desk – literally if I look to my right, my to-do list is about a foot away from my face. Writing it down not only embeds it in your brain but it also holds you accountable and displays it in clear view.

NUMBER 2. Prioritize Your List Into the Following Categories

If your to-do list is long, you’ll definitely want to prioritize it so that you are able to knock things off and meet your deadlines. Start with the easy stuff that you can knock off your list in no time = things that will only take you 15 minutes or less to complete (maybe you need to reply to a few emails?). This will allow you to knock a bunch of stuff off in a shorter period of time, which will give you that “I’m on a roll!” feeling. The next category is “Things you were paid for” – these are things that are really important because someone has paid you to get it done for them. Things you were paid for are ALWAYS priority. The next category is “Things with specific deadlines” – because if something realistically has to be done in two days, then you should focus solely on that. Anything that is time sensitive should go on your to-do list with a date next to it.

NUMBER 3. Make Sure You’re Actually Crossing Stuff Off

Crossing stuff off of your to-do list actually brings you peace and gives you a sense of weight lifted off of your shoulders. All those tiny things that you completed, make sure you cross every single one of those things off of your list with confidence because you conquered those tasks. This will not only lift a much needed weight off of your shoulders but it will also motivate you to keep going – it’ll give you that “I got this” feeling that you need to knock the rest of the things off of your list.

NUMBER 4. Focus on One Thing At A Time

This should have probably been number one because this is one of the most, if not THE MOST important thing on this list. My mentor told me to focus on one thing at a time and watch what it does to my life and WOW I can’t thank him enough. I’ve probably thanked him at least 10 times since the summer for giving me that simple gem that changed my life lol. So when you’re conquering your to-do list, tell yourself “I’m going to work on this and I’m not going to start on anything else until this is complete.” By doing this, you’ll be able to cross things off of your list. Before, I used to look at my list and start working on a few things at a time, thinking “well if I work on a little bit of this and a little bit of that, everything will get done” – NOPE, wrong way of thinking. If you do it that way, you won’t be able to cross anything off of your list and you’ll go to sleep thinking about your list and wake up still looking at that long to-do list and that’s just not a great way to end or start your day. So PLEASE save yourself a huge headache and tell yourself “ONE THING AT A TIME!” – block out all other distractions and get it done!

NUMBER 5. Give yourself rewards.

So you’ve been working your booty off, and you deserve a reward. Giving yourself a reward will give you an incentive to get things done. Tell yourself “I’m not allowed to ____ until I get ____ finished.” Maybe you want to watch your favorite show, or sit back and enjoy a glass of wine – well you’re not allowed to do these things until you’ve knocked certain tasks off of your to-do list. This is another way of holding yourself accountable and it’ll also help you with the previous tip which was to focus on one thing at a time. Plus, when you’re finished and you finally get your reward, you’ll actually be able to relax and enjoy it without thinking “man I have to finish that” because it’ll already be done.
A few productivity hacks to help you:

  1. Something that REALLY helps me is setting reminders in my phone. If something is more than a week out, I set a reminder for 1 week before then for two days before. I always put phone meetings, in person meetings, events that I need to attend and due dates in my phone calendar and set alerts. To make this even easier, the iPhone highlights dates and times (when you’re texting and emailing) and you can actually click on those dates and times and add an event with a reminder. PLEASE do yourself a favor and use this! Create the event as soon as your meeting is scheduled and set a reminder for two hours before. I usually set two reminders (one goes off two hours before, and another 30 minutes before the meeting).
  2. Set up your email account so that all the unread emails show up at the top. Keep all emails that require a response or some sort of action set as UNREAD until you reply. By doing this, your emails will never get lost in the sauce and you don’t have to ever wonder “did I respond to that email?”

Now go enjoy that glass of wine!

I hope this #MoneyMakinMonday post helps you conquer the rest of your week!
Have any other productivity tips? Tweet us @TasteCreators and let us know!