Where is your not-to-do list anyway? You do have one, don’t you?

Ah hem. The right length for a to-do list. Your not-to-do list holds a lot more.

Ah hem. The right length for a to-do list is 5 or fewer. Your not-to-do list can be much, much longer.

My business journey started out with out of control to-do lists. When I ran a small growing vibrant company, my to-do list floated around a  constant 50 actions required by me at any given point in time. Ouch!

During my professional development, which I continue in earnest today, I’ve developed a not-to-do list process. I actively work my not-to-do list and simplified my to-do list.

The not-to-do list process uses the best ideas from business, lean concepts, and leadership practices. I use a very practical method every day for my business. I then share what I learn with my clients.

Five principles for a not-to-do list

  1. Not-to-do list grows longer than the to-do list.
  2. There can many variations of not-to-do lists.
  3. A Kanban style organization of lists gives them a workable structure.
  4. The to-do list is always very short in length (5 or fewer) and short term in time horizon…at most a week, if not a day.
  5.  New items always go into the not-to-list then get moved into other lists. Eventually activities move to the to-do list and into calendar time slots for execution.

To-do lists always live at the end of the planning process and not before. This is often the opposite of all the bad habits we’ve developed and learned over time. Now is the perfect time to change your approach.

A very useful process to implement a not-to-do list

Create various projects based on your business planning process. Having spent the effort and time on planning simplifies prioritizing and decisions for projects and activities.

And, of course, the plans include project SMART goals, obstacles, solutions, activities.

I’ve listed an excellent starting point for Not-to-do list structure. Yes, and the to-do list!

  • Ideas:  These are proposed activities. Pile them here.
  • Planning:  Here the best ideas develop into SMART goals and plans.
  • Active:  The activity now moves into action. Planning activities results in checklists with deadlines and assignments.
  • To-do list:  The activity is defined, assigned, scheduled and will be done. This list is for today. Keep it focused and short.
  • Stalled/Waiting:  Put stalled activities or activities waiting on someone else on this list.
  • Completed: Completed activities go here. Your well done list!

Using a simple, structured not-to-do list gives you control over all requests, great ideas, “you should do it” requests, and those activities you actually do.

Plus, you can take advantage of that part of your calendar that rarely gets used!

Now, use those time slots in your calendar out 30, 60, 90, 180 days or more. They work perfectly well for not-to-do yet activities.

Successful use of a not-to-do list structure requires leadership skills, decision making skills, and prioritization skills. Do it to tease apart all the competing activities.

(References:  The One ThingThe Path of Least Resistance.)

Next steps

Give me a call or email me to discuss how you can start your not-to-do list and nail your leadership, decision making and prioritization skills.

Especially if you have lots of organizational and personal goals.

Take 30 minutes and let’s discuss the issues you face. It’s free.

Phil Bride.  Phil@PhilBride.com   503-753-9971