Does anyone else feel like they are constantly working away at a never ending to do list? Ours has been very full of late and we’ve been trying to use the busyness as an opportunity to see productivity differently.
It can be incredibly easy for our lives to get rather jam packed, so it’s unsurprising the same happens with our to do lists. Whether it’s fear of missing out on social activities (a tricky trap at this time of year!) or trying to balance work with our personal lives or working towards goals or insert other responsibility here. Many of us have lots of things to juggle all the time and it can get overwhelming to say the least. Of course there are many strategies for managing this. We could say ‘No’ more. We could be more selective in how we use our time and energy. We could ask for help. All valid and useful techniques. But what we’ve been trying to focus on lately is this idea of chipping away at the tasks, trying to get a tiny little bit done every day. Rather than saving up a huge task list and then trying to carve out time to do them, we have found that focusing on each small action is helping us to get further and is remarkably less stressful.
It’s a concept that stemmed from our reading about habits. We’ll recommend a few books below on this subject that we’ve found most helpful if you want to take a look. James Clear argues that “if you get one percent better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you’re done”. That’s pretty remarkable when you think about it. Greatness, success, reaching a big goal or simply getting to the end of your (current) to do list, whatever you want to call it. The way to get there is a series of small movements done regularly. You don’t always need to make a huge leap forward to get that pang of achievement. Taking one step towards getting the task done is still one step in the right direction.
And it’s not just the to do list that can benefit from this. Other seemingly small decisions we already make every day can have a huge impact. For example, deciding to switch from disposable cleansing wipes to reusable ones, walking to work instead of taking the car or public transport, bringing water with us instead of buying another plastic bottle when we’re out. We think we can all agree these are all actions that our environment is worth getting a little bit better on. You’re probably already doing these ones, so a big round of applause for that (celebration is something that B.J. Fogg says is part of making a new habit stick).
When you next take a glance at your to do list, or you’re getting ready to tackle the goal that seems too big, give this a go. You might surprise yourself at how incredibly effective it can be.