If you’ve been trapping all your to-dos in a single place, you have already slain the biggest dragon. You won’t wake up in the middle of the night worried about what you have forgotten. But there’s another concern during a season overflowing with opportunities. What if the most critical items on your list find themselves masked by tons of little things? From that long to-do list, how do we decide what to do right now?
The “Five Fab” to the Rescue
Tonight, look at your list and pick five items for tomorrow that will provide the biggest pay-off. Plenty of what’s on the list can wait until after the holidays. Don’t spend precious time on those items while the clock is ticking on things that can’t wait.
The first time you pick and execute your “Fab 5,” you’ll feel a weight lifted from your shoulders. When you end each day by selecting the Fab 5 for the next one, you start to see the deadline monster evaporate.
On a bad day, the Fab Five consists of five deadlines that if not met will bring about negative consequences. On a good day, the Fab Five will represent creative opportunities that move some important goals forward.
Put the Fab Five at the top of the to-do list and let their accomplishment drive the day. That is not to say that you will only do five tasks by the end of the day. The pace of our lives demands much more. Putting the most important items front-and-center and tackling them when energy level is high increases the chance they get done. Then, you can enjoy the rest of the day, knocking off the easy tasks and handling the incoming flow.
We Do What’s Easy, So Make It All Easy
Given a long list of tasks, we tend to do the easy ones. Make the Fab 5 easy by wording them so clearly that they become easy. Put “Handle Christmas gifts” on the list and you’ll skip right over it to do something less ambiguous. Put “List people I still need to buy for,” and you can knock it out in a few minutes.
Here is one of the great realities of life: Spending more time planning generally reduces the time spent in execution.
Let Enjoyment Be the Priority
This is the season of joyous music. Every school and church has been showcasing its talent. You’ll see family and friends you haven’t seen in months or years. Some of your favorite memories center around Christmases of the past. Let the enjoyment of this season be your top priority now.
At the end of the day, your Fab 5 are done. You feel good that you made the day count. And, you have time left to enjoy the kinds of experiences that won’t come around for another year.
Spend a couple of minutes before bed to identify the “Fab Five” and put them at the top of the list. Those may be the most profitable couple of minutes you spend all day long.