You know that feeling?  The one you get on a Saturday afternoon as you pop open a refreshing cold beverage on a hot summer day after completing all your chores for the weekend?  It’s a very pleasant feeling and puts you in a really good mood.  Why does it feel so good?  Is it that cool beverage quenching your thirst?  The fact that you can relax the rest of the weekend?  Is it that you just checked everything off on your to-do list?  That sense of accomplishment?   

I don’t think I have to make much of an argument that getting everything done on your list feels pretty good.   The value of getting something done and being able to check it off can be very powerful.  How powerful?  I was talking to a client not long ago who told me “I’ll get something done and if it’s not on my list I’ll add it and cross it off, to feel that sense of accomplishment.” 

We love the sense of accomplishment

What he knows is the value that sense of accomplishment can bring.  I’ve often had the conversation with colleagues and friends who work in an office.  It goes something like this.  I really enjoy working in my yard, doing woodworking, mowing the lawn, putting up a privacy fence, or 1000 other projects that all have a clear short-term completion.   “After working in the office and feeling like I’ve accomplished nothing all week, It feels really good to accomplish something that I did with my own hands that I can see.”

Does this sound familiar?  Often in the office, we are working on a project that may take weeks, months or even years to complete.  Even when you do complete something, it may be just a small part of a larger project making it difficult to see the value.  It’s hard to feel a sense of accomplishment when the end result is still far away or can’t be seen.   Ok, so we all agree sense of accomplishment is important.  

Why is that sense of accomplishment so important? 

Is it just that feeling of getting something done?  In that moment the answer may be yes but the benefits go way beyond that immediate sense of accomplishment.   Have you ever heard the saying confidence drives success and success builds your confidence?   How about this quote? “Have confidence that if you have done a little thing well, you can do a bigger thing well too.” (David Storey)   Accomplishing something indeed builds your confidence

Let’s go back to the person that accomplished something and added it to his to-do list so he could check it off.  Was this a waste of time?  Just patting himself on the back?  What he was doing was focusing on his accomplishment.  Not documenting the accomplishment would be the equivalent of ignoring it.  If you ignore a success you are not building confidence but instead shrinking your confidence.  Instead of becoming more confident you become timid.

Accomplishing everything on your list is like building your confidence exponentially.  You build your confidence with each item in the list being an accomplishment.  On top of that you got all your items on your list complete, another accomplishment. Nice!   

Maybe you thought this blog was going to be about helping you accomplish everything on your list and not why it’s valuable to complete everything on your list.  This next part is for you. 

Resources:

First, you need to know how much time you have.  When you create a to-do list, is it for the day? For the week?  It’s important to be realistic about having the resources you need to get your to-do list done.  If your to-do list includes an item to complete cleaning up your office but you are working remotely today, it will not get done.  What about an item that requires help from someone else that you have not confirmed can help you? 

Back to the time frame.  If you have 15 hours of tasks and you only have an eight-hour workday, you will not accomplish everything on your list.   What does make sense is to include an item on your to-do list that lines up the required resources you will need to get a task done later.  Another way to ensure this is to have a plan. 

A few other examples.  If you need a decision to move forward with a task, you need to get the decision first.  Needing a piece of equipment like a printer or office supplies (Post-it exercise) or a flip chart for meeting prep, are a few other examples.  Ensuring you have the resources you need to complete your to-do list gives you that fighting chance. 

Segmenting:

Once you have the resources you need to ensure the to-do list is properly segmented.  I often fall into this trap.  I’ll include a task that has too many parts or is too large.  Something like “write blog article”.  What I find is the task ends up not checked off on my daily plan.  I’ll copy it to the next day.  At the end of the next day it again is not completed. 

This can be a clear sign that the task needs to be broken up.  In this case if I included the items “choose topic for blog”, “do initial research for blog”, and “write blog outline”, I’d have them checked off.  The next day I may have the tasks “write initial blog post”, “review initial version”, “finalize blog post”, “post blog” and “share blog post link on social media (linkedIn and Facebook)”.   Often getting your tasks to the “correct” level is nothing more than practice.

Analyze and Re-align:

A key step to accomplishing everything on your list is to analyze your daily plan or to-do list.  This needs to be a daily habit.  You look at how you did with your plan and be objective on how you did.  Document the successes and take credit while doing the same for the failures.

If you didn’t get everything done, was it because you ran out of time?  If you ran out of time was it because you forgot that you’d be in meetings for 4 hours and really only had 4 hours to do the work?  Was it due to underestimating how long tasks will take?  You had the full 8 hours but you really had 10 hours of work?  Was it because unexpected “stuff” happened during the day?  Did one of your tasks not get completed because it was not segmented correctly?  Did it not get done because you really didn’t need to get it done (It wasn’t a priority)?  The last one is my favorite.  Did the task not get done because you are avoiding it? 

No matter what the reason is, if you don’t analyze, you won’t understand how to change it so the next period you get your list accomplished.  The final key is to adjust or re-align moving forward.  This requires a change in behavior.  If you keep forgetting to take into account meetings you will keep having the same outcome.  Not accomplishing everything on your list.

Summary:

To get everything accomplished on your list you need to make a habit of planning and ensuring resource availability, segmenting, analyzing and re-aligning. The payoff is worth it.  You’ll accomplish everything on your list and grow your confidence.  Your confidence will drive your success and you’ll become even more confident, leading to more success!  If you struggle with any of these steps a SPEARity™ coach can help. 

Are you ready to learn more about building habits? Do you want to start accomplishing everything on your to-do list  Let’s talk! We are SPEARity, a local Milwaukee leadership coaching firm that specializes in business coaching, executive coaching, and leadership development training.

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