I love the to-do list.
And my brain would explode if I didn’t have Asana to function as my brain dump spot and task list.
But every once in awhile, my to-do list becomes a stressful event.
For example, in the fall of 2016, my to-do list was several pages long. And for every item I crossed off, three more went on.
- I read an article telling me that I needed to delete my pins on Pinterest that had no engagement. So it went on the list.
- I read an article about getting gobs of email subscribers through content upgrades. So it went on my list.
- I heard stories about Periscope and how it was easy to gain a huge following there. So Periscope went on my list. (Gosh, that went in and out of style fast…)
I was overwhelmed, burned out, and a little miserable. Sound familiar?
But like the universe is prone to do in these situations, the universe sent a solution.
Of course, I’m pretty stubborn. And because of this, the universe knows the only way I listen is when I hear it over and over. And it usually requires a series of swift kicks in the pants before I admit I was wrong. (That snotty all-knowing universe.)
There were several people ahead of me and so I forgot about them. And as luck would have it I got an email to check both books out on the same day (AKA the universe’s swift kick #1).
While I was reading both these books, I started participating in a new mastermind group. This mastermind had a leader, unlike some masterminds I’ve been in. And she gives us assignments each time we meet. And the first assignment she gave me was to come up with my #1 priority for the next year (AKA swift kick #2).
Swift Kick #3 came about via Tara Gentile’s CreativeLive class Build a Stand-Out Business*. I’d been slowly working my way through this course. And making sure I watched and applied a lesson before moving to the next one.
And the lesson I watched was about picking your Chief Initiative. This is her name for the one big thing you are working towards in your business for the next 6-12 months.
At this point, my overwhelmed and stubborn brain put things together.
I realized that the universe was telling me to pick a focus and drop everything else. I needed to cut everything on my to-do list that didn’t support my core focus.
As so that’s what I did. I sat down and picked one activity. I picked:
creating and launching a community helping creative business owners build a strong legal (and non-legal) foundation
Once I knew my focus, I hacked up my to-do list.
I crossed everything off the list that wouldn’t support this focus. And then pulled out a clean sheet of paper and only listed the remaining things.
All that remained were things like:
- building my mailing list
- increasing my social media reach
- hiring a developer to build the site
- determining the library content
- creating the library content
Which is how I became friends with my to-do list again. And got the universe off my back. (Well at least on this topic…)
Today, that community, the artist’s Courtyard, is still my focus. And I’ve got an entire page of my 2018 bullet journal reminding me of this focus.
Also on this page are phrases I will use to guide my decisions.
These phrases start with a verb. And help me decide which specific activities and tactics can make it to my to-do list.
My 2018 phrases include:
- share experiences and knowledge
- provide practical and intuitive legal and biz resources
- help creatives find their own path, not the one others think they should take
- empower creatives to make the best decision for them
- encourage action
Struggling with overwhelm? Hate your to-do list? Then your first step is to decide where you are headed.
And then eliminate everything that won’t help you get there.
Yep, it’s hard. Yep, you’ll disappoint people. Yep, you’ll ruffle a few feathers.
My 2017 word was acceptance. And the lesson that I learned and relearned was accepting one thing is rejecting another.
It’s up to you to decide which path you are on:
- the path that’s handed to you
- the path you are forced onto by your own decisions
- the path you want to be on
So start discovering your own path. Don’t blindly follow an expert’s formula or chase the next flash-in-the-pan trend. Instead, take the next step to building the life and business you want.
And the added benefit? You might become friends with your to-do list again.
What’s one phrase you could use to guide your business in 2018? Share it with us in the comments below.
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