Welcome to Episode #55 of The Planner Podcast.
There is still so much time for a strong finish to the year! Here are 5 things you need to do to declutter your To Do list now to achieve your 2022 goals!
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Thank you for listening x
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Hi, this is Mim Jenkinson, and you’re listening to The Planner Podcast.
Is the time you’re currently spending creating digital products, courses, planners, stickers, or printables actually resulting in consistent sales? And how many expensive courses have you signed up for and still never completed? Oh hey, procrastilearner, I’m looking at you over there. And how many times are you letting FOMO, phone notifications, or other social media trends take you off track with your to-do list? And how much more could you be making if you finally had the time to get your products out there? Well, no judgment here, my multi-passionate friend, because you are not alone. In fact, there’s a whole bunch of creators out there just like you who were wondering why they felt constantly busy, but didn’t have the sales or profits to show for it. But it all changed for them when they finally found a way to focus their time on the profitable tasks that actually resulted in sales week after week after week.
And I’m inviting you to join us right now in Create + Co-Work Club. It’s a success club for digital product creators to swap procrastination for profit every month. You will never find a planning and accountability club just like this one. I would love to welcome you in.
Hi, lovely, and welcome back. It is the end of September as I record this episode and there’s only a few months left until the end of the year, which is really exciting, because that means Christmas is coming up. But also, when you look at your to-do list, are you thinking, “How on earth am I going to achieve my goals that are set at the start of the year?” Or did you even set goals at the start of the year? There’s so many reasons why our to-do lists at this point of the year are probably worth a refresh or a declutter. So I’ve got five things that I want you to do today, including an exercise at the end of this that is going to wrap up the five things and how you actually put them into action.
Because what I don’t want for you is you to continue doing everything the way that you are at this point. With you to-do list now, is it getting you the results that you want? There’s some things that you might just be doing out of habit. There are some things. If you’re like me, that you’re literally moving from day to day to day and not really getting done. So this is a really good exercise for all of us, me included. It’s a great way to reset so that we can make sure that the last three months of this year really count. And of course you can do this any time, any day that you want to, but let’s really make the last three months of this year really count so that whatever goals we want to achieve by the end of the year, we;re on track to do it.
So you might want to get your planner out, if you are a paper planner like me or a digital planner, it’s probably worth having that ready or at least having a blank piece of paper and a pen. Because at the end, the exercise that I want you to work through is going to include you making a note of everything. So here we go. So the first thing that you can do when you’re decluttering your to-do list, if you’re looking at your to-do list, now, then this is awesome, is really take every single item on your current to-do list. Everything that is on your to-do list for today, everything that you have for the rest of the week, even maybe some of the tasks that you’ve already had on your to-do list for the week so far, and looking at them individually and getting really serious about how they are still in alignment with your goals.
So think back to December or January, when you set your goals for this year, if you did. Are they still aligned? Are these tasks that you’re putting on your to-do list this week, still taking you, in some way, even a small step to those goals? So whether it’s your yearly goals or your 90-day goals, or even just this month or this week, however, for whatever period you’re setting the goals, are the tasks on your to-do list taking you closer to achieving them? Because if they’re not taking you closer, then they’re not just keeping you stuck, they’re actually taking you further away because the time that we have to spend is limited. And if we’re not working on the things or checking off the things that are taking us to our goals, then of course it’s time that is taken us further back from them. And we don’t want that. So I want you to look at every single item on your to-do list and ask yourself that question: Is this aligned with my yearly or quarterly or monthly goals? If it isn’t, maybe it’s time to take that off your to-do list altogether.
So the next thing, the next reason that I want you to look at your items on your to-do list, especially those things that you just keep on not completing and moving to the next day or the next week or the next month. Maybe you’ve even had some items or some ideas or some tasks on that list that you had since the beginning of the year. Did you? Have you? And one of the biggest reasons that we are not actually achieving our goals on our to-do list is because it’s too big. It’s too big.
For example, me recording this podcast today. If I just put the word podcast on my to-do list, then that isn’t enough to actually get it done. What I need to do, especially when I’m… Let’s just use the podcast example. Especially when we’re in the beginning of setting up a regular task or project or activity that we want to do, we need to break it down. So you’ve probably heard the phrase chunk it down. Well, what does that mean? So let’s stick with the example. With the podcast, how do I go from here, having no podcast published, to the end result, having the podcast published, promoted, people actually being able to listen to it? So it isn’t as simple as me just sitting down in a 10 minute session, recording the podcast, putting it live, and then it’s done. How nice would that be? There are definitely steps in between where we’re starting and what the end result is.
So it could be coming up with the idea for the podcast, coming up with the title of the episode maybe, actually jotting down some notes or even writing a full script. Some people do, I couldn’t do that. But having a full script or a full set of notes as to what you’re going to discuss on the episode, then finding a time in your planner where you can sit down and record the episode. You get what I’m saying? There are lots of different steps to actually go from where you are now to achieving the goal that you want. So if you’re looking at things on your to-do list and they just seem too big or too overwhelming, or essentially you don’t have that next step to take, then you need to chunk it down.
So how can you take that task and break it down? You don’t need to break down every single step. If that feels overwhelming to you, that’s fine. But what is the very next step you can take? So for me with this podcast example, it might be coming up with a title of what the podcast is going to be, or a general theme, or something. It could be as simple as that. I can check that off and move on to the next step, which might then be sitting down to record. Who knows? Anyway, you know what I mean. Break it down so that it doesn’t feel overwhelming, it doesn’t feel too big, it doesn’t feel too vague, because that is just a cocktail for why you have things on your to-do list every single week and nothing ever gets done. We do not want that for you.
The next thing I want you to do when you’re looking at all these different to-do items is see, what can you give to somebody else? So what can you get rid of altogether? Now, obviously, if you’ve got pots of cash, you can outsource everything to everyone, and that would be lovely. But there are some things that we can’t outsource and pay for help with, for sure. So if there’s nothing that you can just get rid of altogether, can you get some help from somebody else with these things? Especially those tasks that you really shouldn’t be spending your own time on, and maybe somebody else could do a better job or a faster job or free up your time so that you can spend your time and energy on the things that are most important to you.
So I love to delegate things to my husband. He isn’t a fan, funnily enough. Sometimes he’s a bit disobedient, but anyway, that’s a subject for another day. I do try and get help where I can. It isn’t easy asking for help. I’m not the best at it, for sure. But if there’s an opportunity for you to give a task to somebody else, even if it’s just to clear your plate for the next few months of this year so you can focus on other things, have a look at the tasks on your to-do list and see whether you can do that.
Okay. Number four, you need to be really critical when you’re looking at everything that you have on your to-do list or planner. Do you still want to do it? Do you still want to achieve that goal? Do you still want to do that task? Maybe you want to reflect on the goals that you set for yourself earlier this year and wonder, are they still in alignment with what you actually want? There are things that you maybe thought you wanted to do or thought you wanted to achieve this year that you don’t anymore. And that’s totally fine. Maybe you don’t want to, maybe it isn’t in alignment, maybe you’ve already achieved it but you’re still working towards something that you’re already happy with where you are.
I think it’s really easy to get in the habit of putting the same things in our planners every single week because, like I say, it’s a habit and we are just used to doing the same kind of tasks over and over again. But is it really something that you want to keep doing? You can change things anytime. And I love to just delete things off my list altogether. Who doesn’t? That still gives me the same sense of achievement as if I’d accomplished the task anyway. It’s okay. It isn’t a failure to just decide not to do something anymore. It’s okay to pivot, whether it’s in your personal life, your business life, in any way whatsoever. So think very critically when you’re looking at the tasks on your list. What can you get rid of altogether?
Okay. Number five, and then we’re going to move into that exercise that I told you about, is what are you procrastinating about? Is this something on your list that is chunked down, it is something you still want to do, it is aligned with your goals, and it is something that you need to do yourself and you can’t give to someone else, but why are you maybe not achieving it so far? What’s the reason behind that why you’re not achieving it? Are you scared that something isn’t going to work out? Are you worried that you’re not going to be able to achieve it? What are you putting off? Does it feel too hard? Do you need some more help? Can you chunk it down even further to make it even more of a micro step? Are you unsure what your next best decision is? For what reason are you feeling stuck right now?
Are you potentially just not giving yourself the time or allowing yourself the time to be able to get something done? There’s always a reason why we are procrastinating with things. And we all do, I certainly do. As much as I like to plan ahead, as much as I like to deal with the tough things first, as much as I can chunk down all my goals, there are still things that I’ve put off and procrastinate on. And it can be for many different reasons. But now is the time, at this point in the year, where we can only procrastinate for so long before it then becomes something that we just haven’t achieved. And I want you to think about if it’s still under your control to make some different decisions and change things. What can you stop procrastinating on and what can you start to actually do today? It doesn’t have to be perfect. Done is better than perfect. Let’s get things done instead of just looking at them. Those same tasks that appear on our planner every single week, let’s just start checking them off.
Okay. Let’s move on to the exercise now. And we’re going to take everything that I’ve just shared with you in these five tips on decluttering your to-do list. And what I want you to do is get this blank piece of paper or a spreadsheet or whatever it is, a digital notebook, whatever you are using right now is all good. And I want you to either get your planner and look at everything that’s on your to-do list for this week. Certainly, maybe even for the whole month, if you’ve planned ahead that far. If you haven’t, you’ve been using your planner and got your to-do lists already created, then just brainstorm everything that you know is something that you want to do before the end of the year, certainly, if not right now. I want you to write down a big list of everything there. So if I look at my planner now, there’s probably three to five different activities there every single day. And then I have some for the weekends, too. So I would be listing absolutely everything.
The next thing I want you to do is put everything in order of these five things. So what’s still aligned with your goals that you set earlier this year? Can you chunk them down even further and then put them in the order that they need to get done? Can you delete anything off that list that you can actually give to somebody else? If you look at those things and realize that you actually don’t want to achieve them anymore, what can you delete immediately?
And of course, we’re looking at the things that we’re procrastinating on to make sure that we can stop that, too. But I want you to then put everything in order of what is the biggest priority to you down to the things that are more like the nice-to-dos, or the small things, or if I get round to them, that’s okay. And get really critical about what you can delete from this list. I think when you see your day-to-day list, and it’s a small list of maybe three to five things, or even 10 things, it can become quite easy to assume that that’s okay. But when you look at absolutely everything you want to get done in one big list, it can feel quite shocking. Oh my goodness, this is why I’m not achieving anything because there’s just too much on there.
So that is your exercise to do today or the next time you can. I would certainly love for you to do this before the end of September. And if you do, let me know and tag me at Paper Planner Club on Instagram or on Facebook, because I would love to know if this has changed the way that you have been looking at you to-do list. And it really lets you simplify things for the rest of the year so you can speed up towards those goals.
I want to achieve my goals just as much as I want them for you. And so I’d love for us to gather again at the end of the year and celebrate together on what we have achieved. So let me know, what have you deleted? What have you chunked down? What have you prioritized? What has become known to you that you don’t have to do anymore? Share it with me. And I hope that you found this episode really helpful. Let’s have an amazing finish to the year and a great three months together. See you in the next episode.