We’re nearing the end of the first month of the year. Enthusiasm from goal setting “I’m going to dream and win BIG this year” is waning. “Regular” work, to do lists, emails, and demands on our time are beginning to wear us down. Distraction derailment is trying to get us off track and it’s easy to become buried by the To-Do list!

Don't let your To-Do list bury you!
Don’t let your To-Do list bury you!

Now is the time when we either will slip back into our old habits, OR we’ll incorporate some changes that will help to create the results we desire.

Let’s choose the latter!

Getting Buried by my To-Do List

In the past it has been very typical for my daily To-Do list to contain 12+ items.

(Before I went digital five years ago it was not at all uncommon for my daily task list to contain two columns of items. Yes, my DAILY list filled TWO columns on an 8 ½ x 11 college lined paper. . .)

Twelve items may not sound like too many but some of those items were project tasks, big picture, long term goal items that took a better chunk of the day. Also, the list started with just MY priorities. My To-Do list was added to daily by way of emails I need to respond to, following up with people, requests from outside my work, employees, etc.

Too many items on the To-Do list leads to distraction derailment and not achieving your big picture goals.
Too many items on the To-Do list lead to slow forward movement

What’s the big deal with a large To Do list?

  • IF I was to knock off that many items, my 12-20 item To-Do list could only be populated by items that were “low hanging fruit”. (Items that don’t take a heck of a lot of time.)
  • Items often were not completed so then transferred to the following day.
  • I would get constantly pulled and distracted by “sneaky creepers” – an email here, text there, phone calls and drop by’s. In reality often these items could wait.
  • Because I had so many items on the list it fostered Distraction Derailment from my big picture goals
  • Since I’m a high achiever I wanted to knock off as many items as possible (LOVE THIS!) so naturally I’d choose the quick and easy tasks.
  • In order to work on my big picture goals, I’d have to work on them ‘outside’ of the work day – cutting into family, friend, and rejuvenation time.
  • I lost steam for big picture goals by the end of the second quarter.

Over time the big picture goals went from BIG to small/medium size. I went from being EXCITED and MOTIVATED about them to performing CPR on them come September.

Part of my goal setting and achieving strategy works but, obviously, needed refining.  

We will always need to adjust. The only constant in life is that life always changing!

This year I’m enfolding a new strategy to achieve goals, stay focused, avoid Distraction Derailment, and being buried by my To-Do list.

How to Avoid Distraction Derailment

Don't become distracted and derailed by a mounting To-Do list. Fight to keep your focus.
Avoiding Distraction Derailment

The podcast that I need to credit for the Big Three is called Focus on This by Michael Hyatt & Co. I’m incorporating a couple new strategies into my own planning and goal setting this season. So far, I’m motivated by the results! The first strategy to share is called, The Big Three.

Rather than the 12-20 daily To-Do list, I’m placing THREE items on my list each day. Yes, it’s a challenge for me to just place only 3 items on my to do list every day, feels like cheating.

My results so far:

  • I don’t feel like I’m being buried by my To Do lists
  • I’m keeping my “Big Picture” goals much more in the forefront
  • The Distraction Derailment is becoming less and less of a pull (those little sneaky things that keep trying to get onto my To-Do list)
  • I’m being better able to say “no” or “later” to tasks that people ask of me

I’ve found that keeping my daily list to just The Big Three is a challenge but it’s resulting in better prioritization and less Distraction Derailment.

Do I only have The Big Three on my To-Do list each day? No. Definitely not. Not yet. . .

What to do with those To-Do list Distractions?

Block time for the non urgent but necessary To-Do items
Set aside time to tackle the distractions.

I’m blocking off time (my least productive time and when I’m liable to get the most distractions) to take care of those little To Do items. It’s still very satisfying to cross them off my list! While they don’t get space on my daily list, they do have their own planned space on my calendar.

They no longer receive my attention every day. They get to wait in line.

In order to create the change we desire we do not have to tackle all things at once, just incorporate the next thing into your schedule. For me it’s The Big Three.

Keeping Distraction Derailment at bay.

Don’t get buried by the To-Do list.

Continue to be excited and motivated by your goals and making a difference!

Try the Big Three with me and let me know how it helps your productivity! info@kaizen.zone