The Tyranny of the To-Do List

Do you feel like you’re on a hamster wheel, chasing your To-Do list?  If you are, how do you answer this next very important question: Can you get everything on your to-do list done? 

If you are like every other leader and professional I have asked this question of over the last 20 years – your answer is no.

That leads to another even more critically important question: How do you choose what you’re actually going to do?

One of the biggest obstacles facing leaders, managers, and professionals today is allowing their to-do list to determine their decision-making. This is at the heart of a problem that produces poor decisions, limits productivity, and diverts us from achieving great results.

If your efforts are guided by a to-do list versus a strategic priorities list, you are going to:

  1. Be working far too hard
  2. Accomplishing far too little
  3. Causing tremendous effort for your people
  4. Limiting the strategic impact your people can have
  5. Starting a serious downward spiral

Every single professional, and absolutely every leader and manager should be running their organization, their work, and their life based primarily on one thing:

  • What are the most important and valuable results to accomplish – for you and for your organization

If your to-do list runs your decision-making, the chances of ensuring what is most important and valuable is taken care of goes down dramatically. However, if what is most important and valuable guides your choice of what to do, your chances of success, fulfillment, effectiveness, and leadership, goes up – exponentially.

Your calendar doesn’t lie. Track where your efforts and time are going, and compare that to your strategic priorities and objectives. Do you have a clear, tight alignment and fit?

If not, it’s time to start thinking about what is most important and valuable BEFORE you start thinking about what you have to do. While this is simple common sense, only the most successful people and best leaders have this as their regular, common practice.

Make your priorities and what is most important the key determiner of what to do. This focus on what really matters transforms what you, your organization, and the world will look like – and what can be accomplished with greater efficiency and effectiveness.

To learn more on how to optimize your decision-making process, schedule an intro call at 978-828-3000 or

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