What’s hiding on YOUR to-do list?

Face your demonsSomewhere, every one of us has a “one of these days” projects list.  It could include home projects, hobbies, education goals, or any number of other tasks that we believe we want to accomplish when we have the time and resources to do so.

I’m a big fan of lists.  I use them to park ideas, keep track of commitments and make sure I get don’t forget important tasks. When I put an item on a list, it makes me feel better (because I no longer worry about forgetting it), and it gives me the opportunity to cross it off when finished (which feels pretty awesome).

But when an item sits on the list for a lo-o-o-ng time, then it becomes something entirely different.  Every time you look at it, you feel guilty (I actually imagine mine is mocking me).  Even though you know that you have been spending your time on legitimately important other tasks, looking at these unfinished list items drains energy from you.  In the coaching world, we call these items “tolerations” because we tolerate their existence.

If you would like to get out from under the mocking glare of the tolerations on your list, you need to get real and disposition those bad boys.  Here are 7 ways to deal with them once and for all:

  • Decide: Is this still important?  Should it even still be here? Do I have to do it?
  • Dump it: Accept that it is not getting done and let it go.
  • Do it: Set aside some time and get it done right now.
  • Delegate it: Call “the guy,” spend the money and put it behind you.
  • Due date it: If you can’t spend the time this minute, give yourself a deadline to either Do it or Dump it.
  • Divide it: Find a way to get it done in small chunks (then Due date those chunks and Do it.)
  • Deal with it: Is it the kind of thing that comes up often? Develop a new habit or system for handling it regularly.

I challenge you to go through your current tolerations list and see how many you can get rid of right now.  I guarantee it will make you feel better.

And remember: even after you disposition your current tolerations, new ones will arise — that is the nature of life — but using these techniques regularly will help you keep them under control.

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