A Coaching Power Tool created by Lauren Young
(Career Coach, UNITED STATES)
At one point or another, everyone has created a To Do list. People use different methods to create their list. Some people use a pen and paper. Others use their calendars. Still others, use mobile phone apps. Of those people, many have found To Do lists unhelpful so they stop using them. After all, who wants to be reminded of all the things that they have not been able to get done? For many people, the problems lies not in the use of the list but in the list itself. What many people think of as a To Do list is actually a Hope To Do list. What they really need is a Will Do list.
So what is the difference?
A Hope To Do List is an overly long To Do list that details everything that you hope to do during the day. It includes everything from chores, errands, work demands, social demands and familial demands. Usually the list is not prioritized or reviewed to see if the tasks are aligned with your personal goals. Usually you do not complete all the tasks on your list. By the end of the day, while you may have crossed many tasks off your list, you are too tired to work on those tasks that are aligned with your personal goals.
If you’re like most people, you probably create your Hope To Do list by simply writing down every task that comes to mind when you think about all the things that need to be done around the house, at work and for your friends and community. After everything is listed, you often feel overwhelmed because you know that it is unlikely that you will complete all the tasks. Often the list is put away until the end of the next day when you pull out it, realize that you have not done most of the tasks and feel frustrated. Then the cycle begins again: Disappointment in forgetting to do something; creating a Hope To Do list; feeling overwhelmed by the size of the list; putting the list away; going about your day; pulling the list out to review tasks completed and to be completed and seeing that you forgot to do something.
Will Do List
This list may contain the same tasks that are on your Hope To Do List but not necessarily. The tasks on this list are prioritized by alignment with your personal goals. The objective to making this list is to align your daily/weekly/monthly tasks with your overall dream. It is not an easy list to create but it is probably the most important list that you will make as you pursue your dreams. Once you have identified your goals it becomes easier to recreate the list on a daily basis.
In order to create this list, you must start by knowing what your goals are. A useful exercise to figuring out your goals is to do a visualization exercise. Think about what your ideal life would look like. Think about every aspect of your life and what they would look like in your ideal life. If you could have any career, what would it be? Where would you live? Who will you spend time with? Those are the sort of questions that you would ask yourself during a visualization exercise. Once you have a vision of your ideal life, you can think about what goals you need to set in order to achieve that life. Write the goals down. Create a goal board. Do whatever works for you so that the vision of your ideal life and the goals that need to be achieved to get that life are at the forefront of your mind.
How to turn your Hope To Do List into a Will Do List
Great! Now that you have gotten your goals clearly set out, it is time to turn your Hope to Do List into a Will Do list.
The first step is to compare your list against your goals. Ask yourself how each task matches up against your goals? Meaning, does the task take you closer to reaching your goals? If it does, keep it on the list as a prioritized task. If not, think about whether it is a necessary task and if you have to be the person doing it. Sure, the trash needs to be taken out and the kids need to be picked up but do you necessarily have to be the one to do it? Could you have someone else help you out with that task? Learning to delegate when possible is essential to creating a Will Do List. There will be tasks that do not further goals, cannot be delegated and must be done. That’s fine. In fact, that’s life. However, when possible, be creative in thinking of ways to keep those types of tasks to a minimal.
Now that you have an edited list of tasks, it is time to sort and prioritize them. First, sort the task into groups. For example, put all errands in one category and all work related tasks in a different category. Sorting the tasks gives you the ability to work through the list in a more efficient manner. If you like to focus on one thing at a time, you can work through one category at a time. If you like variety, you can pick a task from different categories. After you sort the tasks into different categories, prioritize them within the category. Ask yourself “What must I get done first?” Again, prioritizing will allow you to be more efficient.
Now that you have your sorted and prioritized list, take one more look at it. Does everything on it: a) further your goals, b) cannot be done by someone else and c) must be done? Keep in mind that “must be done” can be something that may seem frivolous at first glance but is necessary for you to reach your goals. For example, if your goal is to have a less stressful life, you may need to spend time doing things that you like. So “Reading a book” may be on your Will Do list. It fits all the above criteria needed to stay on the list. It furthers your goal of having a less stressful life. You yourself have to do the reading. And it must be done in order for you to be happy and less stressed. Once you have a task list that is aligned with your goals, you will find that you are more committed and motivated to get things done. Why? Because you will know that you are doing these things in order to get closer to reaching your goals. How exciting is that?!
Congratulations! You now have a Will Do list! This powerful tool will not only help you go through your task more efficiently, you will feel better knowing that everything you are doing is helping you get one step closer to having your ideal life..