How to declutter your To Do list

declutterOne of the biggest areas of office clutter is your To Do list. Having a cluttered To Do list distracts you from the work that matters most. The result is you feel overwhelmed and unsure of what task to tackle next.

The good news is organizing your To Do list is easy once you know what to eliminate.

Here are 3 types of To Do list clutter and how to get rid of them:

Busywork is sneaky. It’s anything that creates the illusion you’re doing something important, when in fact the task doesn’t contribute to your priorities. Take a glance at your To Do list and ask yourself, Is this task moving me closer to my goals?  If the answer is No, it’s busywork.

Action: Delegate or defer your busywork. If you have an assistant, he/she is the person to accomplish this task. (Busywork is almost always administrative tasks.) If delegation isn’t an option, defer it to a time when your energy is low.

Bright Shiny Objects
These are impulsive tasks that land on your To Do list because a “great” idea popped into your head. These tasks usually end up being huge time and energy wasters.

Action: Create a parking lot (folder or document) to store your great ideas until you are ready to review and act on them. Think of the parking lot as a garden: where great ideas grow into priorities.

Other People’s Priorities
These stealthy tasks love to hide in your To Do list. They exist because you had difficulty saying No to someone.

Action: Practice the art of saying No. This may be difficult because you don’t want to be perceived as difficult or not helpful. However, when you say Yes to someone you are saying No to your priorities.


Join the Conversation