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People say I am a busy guy. I guess so. Kind of like telling a fish that water is wet…he really doesn’t know any other way to experience life. I suppose I AM a busy guy. I also meet a lot of people that are busy. In fact, it’s rare that I meet many who would claim to be “unbusy”. There are a lot of busy people out there.

I think my major concern in writing this post is when we find ourselves so overwhelmed with all the tasks of life that we lapse into discouragement, anxiety, even desparation.

I have been there.

So, I make a daily to-do list.

I usually take the first 10-15 minutes of my day to plot it out. I list out the things that I need to pay attention to even to the point of scheduling them to certain time slots if necessary. I am careful to determine what’s feasible. Usually there are 4 or 5 things on the list…if I am feeling a little ambitious I might list out up to 10 items to pay attention to. Then I get at it. As I work through the list I make the effort to cross them off. If I don’t get it all done, I carry them over to the next day.

Why make a daily to-do list?

1. because we can’t do EVERYTHING that comes to us. We need to make choices as to what we will do. A to-do list focusses us.
2. because there are things that we should NOT do, putting a list together helps us identify what is valid and what is invalid.
3. because we grasp the limits of our days (humanly speaking we only have so much time and so much energy). Planning out the things to do brings us to an awareness of our humanness.
4. because there is satisfaction of getting things done. Nothing better than to look at a list and realize that “we got a lot of things done today”.
5. because it helps us answer the requests of others seeking our time and energy.. Look at the list…room for some extras? room for some interruptions? By the way, a request can be fitted in, or it can be politely deferred to a future date/time. To simply announce “no–it’s not on the list” is rude, even dismissive..
6. because it obliges us to think about our priorities and values. If we say something is a value but we never see it on our to-do list, well maybe it’s not as high a priority as we say it is (think “exercise time” here).
7. because it helps us be more efficient and available to our team members. If you are bold, circulate a morning email to your team to alert them to what you are up to during the day. Amazing how it can inform and inspire them.

If at the end of the day all the to-do list isn’t done, well, you have a head start on tomorrow.

What’s your way of coping with all the tasks and demands of your busy life?