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On my list, I decided that I would put off defrosting freezer, planning March trip, and cleaning out linen closet at least until after holidays.
DELEGATING. Ask yourself:
- Can someone else do this job as well as or better than I can? - If someone else can do this job, but not as well, or not same way I do it, can I live with that? - How much will it save me in time, energy, or money to delegate this task – or to hire it out? How much will it cost me?
Are you going to delegate that task? Great! Write down name of person you're delegating to beside task.
I assigned sewing buttons, putting on snow tires, planning March trip (that one got DELAYED and DELEGATED!) and bringing in balcony furniture to others. I also decided to turn much of web site copywriting over to a professional copywriter. While that eliminated a couple of items from list, it added one: find a professional copywriter. That I could mostly delegate as well to Dawn, my Virtual Assistant.
DOING LESS. Ask yourself:
- Can I combine this chore or errand with another to save time? - Can I get by with doing less of this chore? - How much of this really needs to be done right now?
Are you going to do less of that chore? Note where you are going to draw line.
I combined sending our gift lists to my brother and parents with calling them, which saved me a couple of e-mails. I pared my list of future teleclasses from 12 to 5. I also culled my holiday card list, which saves me time and money.
DELETING. This is your most powerful option, since it gets tasks completely off that list. Ask yourself:
- Will this activity, project, or task be important to me next year? How about in five years? Ten? - Is this activity, project, or task something I will enjoy, learn from, or be positively challenged by? - What is most likely outcome of this activity, project, or task? Is that something I really want?
If you decide to delete a chore completely from your list, draw a line through it. Remember, you can always add it back later when things have settled down.
I decided to delete repainting laundry room. It doesn't look that bad, guests rarely go in there, and it would be a huge chore.
Finally, we get to fifth D: actual DO list. By this point, everything left on your list should be a pretty significant DO. In my example, number of tasks dropped from 20 to 8. And we're about to pare it down even more. (By way, if you didn't cut your list by at least half, run though it again, applying four D's. This time, be really stringent.)
Go through your new, shorter DO list and note every chore on that list that you can do in 15 minutes or less, and DO them! On my list, those quick tasks included calling my brother (calling my mother always takes at least an hour) and balancing my business check book. I'm now down to 6 items.
The sixth D is DEADLINE. Go through what remains on your list, and put a target completion date for each task. Then write those deadlines on calendar, and pencil in when you are going to work on each specific chore. Calling my mother, for example, is best done in early evening, but not on Thursdays when she plays Bunco. Finishing my e-book gets Monday mornings when I'm at my freshest. And so on.
And now you're done! You've just applied 6 D's to your to do list. Congratulations! You can welcome in holidays in brighter spirits because you don't have as much STUFF weighing you down.
Oh, and seventh D? DARK CHOCOLATE, of course!
NOTE: You are welcome to use this article online in electronic newsletters and e-zines as long as it remains complete and unaltered (including "about author" info). If use of this article is desired in print, you must first contact Lynn Cutts at Lynn@ManageYourMuse.com.
Copyright 2005 Lynn Cutts
Chocolate-loving Life Coach Lynn Cutts’ mission is to change the world for the better, one person at a time. At www.ManageYourMuse.com, she shares free tips, articles, games and newsletters to help you realize your dreams. Lynn offers one-on-one coaching, group coaching and self-guided programs to help you create your own boundless life. Lynn is certified by the Coaches Training Institute, and is a member of the International Coaches Federation.