One of the worst parts of The List is how fast it grows. Mine can grow like a nightmare. A couple months ago I read somewhere (can’t remember where! I didn’t put it on The List!) a rather obvious tip that changed my perspective on The List.
If it takes less than five minutes, do it now.
I know. Stupid easy, right?
But I suddenly saw so many things on my todo list that I should have just finished and been done with.
So I started following that rule for a week. A child asked for a drink of water, and I bounded up and got that cup for him.
My son called for help in Algebra, and I ran over, fixed the error, and went back to what I was doing.
My coworker emailed a quick question, and I answered it the first time I saw the email, rather than waiting to answer it “when I do my emails.”
Now, I did have this fear that so many interruptions would drive me off task. And sometimes, they did distract me. But over all, getting it done right away had great rewards!
- My family suddenly thought I was in a great mood, because I actually was helpful immediately instead of saying, “Just a minute” to everything they asked.
My todo list shrank because I just got things done rather than letting them pile up.
I felt more responsive, more productive, and more connected to my loved ones.
So I upped the ante!
I’m up to “10 or 15 minutes.” If my coworker, child, husband, ANYBODY ask me something I can do “real quick,” I try (don’t always succeed! But I’m working on it!) to just knock that chore off right away rather than letting it fester.
What do you think? Could doing five-minute tasks immediately shorten your todo list? Let me know if it works for you!