Makeover your to-do list and make time for what matters

Passion Project Zig Zag
Passion Project dots
To do list productivity monsters

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Is the project that’s most important to you buried at the bottom of a never-ending to do list?

Maybe your to-do list is in serious need of a makeover!

I bet the voice in your head sounds something like this…

“I’ll work on _______ AFTER I finish ________.”

I’ll start writing my short story, AFTER I wrap that big client project and fold the laundry.

I’ll brainstorm my new biz idea, AFTER I plan my meals and go to the grocery.

I’ll plan my dream adventure, AFTER I organize my closet and unload the dishwasher.

I’ll work on my blog, AFTER I read and sort all my emails.

Just like Cinderella stuck finishing her chores, unless you summon a to-do-list-tackling fairy godmother with a team of magical forest creatures ✨ you’ll never get to the ball and break out your best dance moves.

Too Many To-Do’s?

No matter how fierce your check-marking game is, no to-do-list-junky ever reaches the promised high at the bottom of the list. Another TO-DO always lands on top and you end up TO DON’T-ing your project another day. 😳

**OR you make it to the end of the day, but you don’t have any creative energy left for your project. You spent the good stuff on mindless to do’s that didn’t deserve it!**

The good news is you don’t have to wait for that perfect unbusy day to start making real progress on your dreams. I tried ALL the things and have a few tips on how to go from a never-done-dreamer to a kick-ass creator on your own projects!

Try Flipping Your List!

What if instead of banishing your passion project to the bottom of your to-do list, you turned your list upside down so your passion is on top? A #1 priority!

Work on what matters FIRST.

I know what you’re thinking… but that other stuff HAS to get done too. I can’t just ignore my responsibilities. How will all those other to-do’s get done?

Spoiler alert … you’ll probably get them done anyway.

Remember our ol’ pal Parkinson …

“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”
– Parkinson’s Law

If you carve out the first part of your day for your passion. You’ll probably work more efficiently and be more resourceful on everything else because, well… YOU HAVE TO!

Ya’ know how you can literally have the most jam-packed, insanely scheduled day, but then the universe throws a curve ball (like a dead car battery), and alakazham! you magically manage to get it all done anyway?

Why not tap into that superhero energy on purpose and use it to work on your dream?

Even when I have a huge client deadline, I still insist on spending at least a few minutes on my personal project first thing and then, like-always, the rest of the work somehow gets done … mere seconds before the deadline.

Cut to my adoring clients giving me compliments on how awesome my work, even though I only spent 8 hours on it instead of 12. *Stop it! I’m blushing! No… Go on…* ☺️

Frank Lloyd Wright, master procrastinator?

The other day I was watching a documentary about Frank Lloyd Wright who apparently was quite the procrastinator. Once he sat on this one client project forever. The client finally got fed up with waiting and announced he would be there in 2 HOURS to see his house plans.

Well Franky sharpened his pencils, cracked his knuckles and kicked it into high gear drawing up a set of amazing blueprints from scratch for one of his most famous houses (Falling Water) seconds before the client walked in.

They’re still giving tours of that 2 hour panic job today!

Lower your expectations

Another way to beat resistance is to make your To Do as Do-able as possible. Break down the task until it becomes ridiculously easy to accomplish. Then your brain won’t resist it!

Here’s a real example of how I use this to achieve my goals:

I’m trying to build a writing habit each morning using this cool website called that gamifies writing (you type 750 words and it gives you badges and confetti etc).

Now if I wrote down on my to do list “[  ] Write 750 words every morning”. Lazy brain says no thanks, I’ll pass and surf Instagram.

BUT what happens if I lower my goal to “[  ] Click the link for”

Notice I don’t even say anything about actually writing ANY words. All I have to do is just click the link. Then I succeed at my goal and I get to check it off my list.

That doesn’t sound so hard.

Easy peasy.. Just one teensy *CLICK*

Well don’t you know that every time I click that link I end up on the blank page and start angrily typing away … “I can’t believe I fell for this again, ugh, why am I here, I have nothing to say” and before I know it I’ve written 750 words! Sometimes more!

Some of my other ultra high-achieving goals:

[ ] Read for 10 minutes

[ ] Do 1 downward dog

[ ] Go Outside

Back to your list, instead of writing a “TO-DO”, make it a “TO-DO SOME” (so there’s no pressure to get it ALL done).

🚫  Finish the first chapter of my book (nope too hard)

 ✅  Spend 10 minutes writing
👆🏻 hey that looks TO-DO ABLE!

I whipped up some unmotivational posters to inspire you to lower your goals. You should probably put them in a shiny black frame over your desk.

To don’t some of your to-do’s

Lastly, what if it’s ok to let a few things sit unchecked on your list? To be un-perfect. To sacrifice some of the little stuff in order to work on the big stuff you’re here for.

In the amazing book *Four Thousand Weeks Time Management for Mortals,* Oliver Burkeman suggests we might make time for what matters by becoming **better procrastinators.** Procrastinating on the right stuff so that we can focus on what’s important.

The premise of the whole book is that, on average humans have only about four thousand weeks to live. Which should be huge wakeup call to get to work on what matters now or it’s never gonna happen!

Just consider when people remember you will they fondly say that she never had split ends, always folded the laundry when it was still hot from the dryer, and paid her taxes way ahead of time?

What are you going to do with your 4000 weeks?


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