What to Do About To-Dos

Do you have a to-do list? If so, how often do you get everything crossed off your list? As a business owner or leader, it’s likely your list gets longer, rather than shorter, as the week goes on.

If you’re struggling with timelines and prioritization with your to-do list, consider this: maybe some of the tasks on your list shouldn’t be To-Dos, but rather issues or rocks.

Once you have a clear understanding of the difference between to-dos, issues, and rocks, you’ll be able to start crossing things off faster than you could ever imagine.

Rocks, To-Dos, and Issues: What’s the Difference?

During an EOS session, we begin by setting our larger overall goals for the quarter or year and assigning them to a specific person on the team to ensure they get done.

After the overall goals are set, a large portion of the day is dedicated to solving issues. While issues don’t necessarily mean problems, they do require some sort of resolution. This can come in the form of a rock, short-term issue, long-term issue, or a To-Do.

We outline the differences between these types of initiatives below:

  1. Rocks: These are a priority that will take more than 3 weeks but must get done this quarter. A good rule of thumb is for the company and each leadership team member to have 3-7 rocks. Remember—less is more!
  2. Long-term Issue: If an issue is agreed to be long-term, that means it doesn’t have to be solved this quarter, and it should go on the V/TO issues list. This will help you keep your mind off it for the time being, without losing it completely.
  3. Short-term Issue: If an issue is agreed to be short-term, it means we want to get solved this quarter and should go on your weekly L10 issues list.
  4. To-Do: A To-Do is anything anyone on the team commits to that must get done in the next 7. Use your L10 meetings to follow up on those tasks and create accountability.

*Pro-Tip: pro-tip: if your To-Do is longer than a week (and shorter than 3 weeks), then scope the To-Do for what you’ll accomplish in this week.  You can pick up the 2nd half of the To-Do the following week.

The two important things to remember when determining where a task or issue should live is how long it will take to complete and how important it is to achieving your quarterly company goals. It’s also important to make sure that every To-Do has someone assigned to make sure it’s completed. If nobody or more than 1 person owns the To-Do or Rock,  it often falls to the boss (which isn’t fair) or won’t get done at all.

Organize and Prioritize 

By organizing tasks into rocks, short-term issues, long-term issues, and To-Dos, you’ve made the first step toward getting them actually completed. Another place leaders tend to have trouble is prioritizing. As the business owner, every task feels important – and it is.

However, if you haven’t learned by now, trying to do everything yourself often means you get very little done. With EOS, not only do you have clear guidance to help lay out a timeline for your tasks, you’re encouraged as a leader to think outside the box and ask the bigger questions, such as, ‘could someone else own this?’, ‘does this belong on our department issue list instead of the leadership issue list?’, or ‘who’s role is best suited for solving this issue?’ To help you check even more To-Dos off your list, ask yourself the following:

  1. Who is affected? For example, is the task only going to impact you? Your clients? Your business or team?
  2. What is the outcome of completing this task? Will you gain a new customer? More revenue? Is a project getting done ahead of schedule?
  3. What happens if the task is not completed? Lost clients or revenue? Missed deadlines? Will there be a domino effect of missed deadlines/tasks?
  4. Does it need to get done now? Is it holding us back or getting in our way from achieving our goals?

The answers to these questions will help you decide on which tasks come first, allowing you to crush your To-Do list and really get traction toward those bigger goals!

Debunking the Multitasking Myth

Now that you have your list locked and loaded, take out those tasks one at a time. No really, don’t multitask—studies show that less than 3% of humans can successfully multitask, which means that you’re far more productive when you tackle one thing at a time.

Are you sick of having a never-ending to-do list? Contact me for a free, 90-minute consultation to learn how EOS will help you solve issues and achieve your goals!

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