Tip of the Month: February 2022- Simplify Your To-Do List

Raise your hand if you excel at overcomplicating things. If you’ve got your hand up, you are not alone. I’m over here wildly waving both hands.

In the past few months, I’ve become aware of how overcomplicating a project or task can cause paralysis. To help overcome this unnecessary complication, I have made it a point to challenge myself to figure out ways to simplify tasks. Thus, making it easier to be successful.

A Big Problem — Is There A Solution?

As a college student, a professor once posed a question to the class. Question: How do you eat an elephant? It was apparent some of my peers had heard this one before. For me, it was a new concept. As the profession probed, I became filled with anxiety. It was not the type of question I could answer. It seemed to be an enormous task, and I had trouble figuring out a starting point. After a few minutes passed, the professor finally responded to the question.
When he finally revealed the answer, the task automatically seemed more manageable than before — the answer: One bite at a time.

How Can We Apply This Concept?

While learning this lesson is helpful, it is best to have actionable items to help us put it into practice. Here are a few ways to help you out:

Make it smaller. Break large projects up into smaller tasks to make them easier to digest, much like focusing on taking one bite at a time instead of focusing on everything that needs to happen. Some great tools to help include Gantt charts or apps that help with project management, such as Asana or Trello.
Hide tasks that are not relevant. Enter the ease of electronic to-do lists. When using an electronic to-do list, you can seamlessly hide tasks. In other words, you can filter the list to reveal to view only current or relevant tasks. This way, it limits overwhelm that can set in when you have too many things to do.
Hot tip: Try the app Notion. It is a lot like a notepad with different tabbed sections. Within each section, you can use various functions to track tasks, such as creating tables, checklists, embed links, and so much more. If you are the type of person with notes all over the place — from physical notebooks to a million reminders on your phone, email, or other apps — Notion might be the answer to your problems. To get started, consider searching for YouTube videos on how to get the most out of it. You can even download templates that other users have created to jumpstart the process.
Take a break. If you are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of things that need to happen — um, entrepreneurship — consider taking a break to center yourself. While you may think that you do not have time to take a break, this can be one of those lies we tell ourselves. When I get frazzled, taking a quick walk outside, doing a short 3-minute meditation, or a few yoga poses can help me get back into the right mindset. While it may feel like taking a break is not possible, it can allow you to come back better focused and more productive. One of my favorite quick meditations is on YouTube called “Deepak Chopra’s Go-To 3-Minute Meditation To Stay Focused.”

So next time you face a project that feels overwhelming, consider the ideas above to help you out. Most of all, remember to focus on a tiny step — or bite — at a time.

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