Ditch Your 50-Line To-Do List and Actually Move Forward
FROM A CONVERSATION WITH TONYA DALTON ON THE REINVENT YOURSELF PODCAST
“Overwhelm is not having too much to do, it’s not knowing where to start,” says Tonya Dalton, serial entrepreneur and author of The Joy of Missing Out: Live More by Doing Less a “mini course” in a new organization paradigm. Dalton believes most productivity manuals fail women because they are written by men who can’t account for or understand the multi-faceted, multi-pressured lives real women lead. “Women have a lot more guilt, lean in more to productivity and process things differently in our brains,” she says. Join this insightful conversation, where Dalton explains that you must put your purpose, passion and priorities at the center of your life so you can “create structure for the weeks and days.” She explains how to create a “priority list” with “Escalate” at the top, “Cultivate” in the middle, and “Accommodate” at the bottom. “Most of us get stuck at the bottom in the accommodate area,” she warns. “Screaming fires get done but are not so important.”
Tonya’s 3 Steps for a Priority List, Not a To-Do List
Instead of having a long jumbled list, we organize it into priorities. So at the top is Escalate, then Cultivate, and then Accommodate tasks.
At the top we have our most important tasks, the things that are Escalate. These are things that are driving you closer to your North Star, they are linked to your goals, they’re investments in yourself. But they also happen to be urgent. Urgent things in general are just things that are tied to a deadline. But we want to first tackle important things that are urgent.
Next up is our Cultivate tasks. So Escalate happens first, and then Cultivate. This is the area where you’re going to see a lot of personal and professional growth. Again, these are important, driving you closer to your goals, but they don’t have a looming deadline. And because they’re not urgent, these are things that tend to get tossed aside in your day to day, even though they are probably the most important for your growth. They’re things like reading articles and journals in your industry, creating budgets, projecting, working on tasks where you can really innovate and create on. This is the area where we want to spend the majority of our time. Because when we cultivate our tasks, we end up with fewer Escalate, urgent fires.
Lastly we have Accommodate. These are urgent, the screaming fires that come up all the time, but they’re not really important. They get done first on a to-do list a lot of times because we just want to check them off and stop the screaming. So we start our day there and get stuck in this loop of working on tiny tasks instead of working on things that drive us forward. So we end our day with these.