It’s easy to feel like being busy automatically means accomplishment.
Juggling tasks becomes addictive, but before long, that can lead to overstimulation and stress, which can slow progress and bottleneck your potential!
Cited often by writers, kill your darlings refers to the unapologetic slicing and dicing of one’s work. It is objective immolation. It’s not meant to be self-destructive. It’s meant to be cleansing and strengthening, sort of like clipping away at extraneous branches and leaves to help preserve a bonsai plant’s structural integrity.
And sometimes, these tasks— this busywork— they become your darlings, and then you are trying to do so much, but you may end up accomplishing much less than you expect.
TL;DR – You need to cut through the superfluous BS, and focus on what matters.
Break your big vision down into clear goals and objectives
How do you eat
an elephant the world’s biggest radish?
One bite at a time.
I’m full of cliché sayings in this blog post, but they illustrate the point soooo well!
What is your big goal?
Don’t think about what you need to do to get to it just yet— just think about the end goal.
Take a mental picture of yourself having achieved it. What does that look like?
- What one thing can you do right now that’ll bring you closer to achieving your objective?
- What one thing can you do tomorrow that’ll get you even closer?
- How about next week? Think of no more than three things you want to check off your list within 7 days from now. Put them in a bucket.
- And what’s in your bucket of goal-centric tasks for the week after?
- . . . and so on. But stick to no more than three each week.
If you move along more quickly than that, that’s fine! But the point here is to keep yourself from getting overwhelmed. You can always rearrange priority as you go complete buckets.
Organize and Prioritize your goals
- Compartmentalize your priorities.
- Break down each step into bite-sized tasks.
- Organize those tasks into buckets.
The satisfaction of checking things off a list will drive you forward.
One question that will make you focus on what’s worth it
Starting to feel overwhelm kick in? Go through each task in each of your buckets, and ask yourself this one yes or no question:
- Does this task solve a problem that currently stands in the way of me achieving my goal?
If you answered with anything other than an undeniable yes, then you need to STOP doing that task (or remove it from your now lean n’ mean to-do list). Go back to the organize and prioritize step and re-examine the tasks in your buckets.
Lots of tasks look nice on paper and can make you feel good, but if completing it doesn’t actually advance your quest, you should cut it.
So go ahead— and kill your darling to-do lists. Quit it with the vanity metrics, the quest for perfection (though that’s a topic for another day). Cut out the unnecessary, shut down your urge to stuff your schedule, and purge that busywork that keeps you from progression, because these are mind-tchotchkes that weigh you down.