Enliven your work!

Do you have certain tasks on your to-do list that never get done?

You copy them over from day to day or week to week. Or they sit on some master list for an eternity. Or they’re part of your annual plan though you know you’ll never get around to them.

Here’s an act of extreme bravery: Why not take them off the list?

Banish them. Or if necessary, relegate them to a special list of dead ideas that you can return to for reconsideration sometime in the future.

This is something I am trying to work with right now.

I practice one useful habit that is a little different from the “dead” list referred to above. It is an idea list. Whenever I see an ezine or blog or whatever with an idea I don’t want to lose, I record it in an ongoing Word document I have on my computer. Sometimes it’s a major concept, such as for a YouTube video or an idea for a book. Other times it’s a random website on which I could register my blog or a handy tool I could use to measure my Twitter presence. (These last ideas are also called BSOs, or Bright Shiny Objects.)

Once I save it there, I can delete it from my mind and feel confident that it is at hand if I ever look for it.

But that does nothing to delete all the tasks that never make it to the top of my daily schedule but make the mountain of chores ahead of me stack up before me like Everest.

So I’m trying to be more stalwart in crossing out whatever I can. Or adding them to the future to-do list so they no longer loom before me every day.

Some tasks seem dead because they’ve been sent to kill me, figuratively speaking.

For instance, I recently talked to a marcom executive at a major insurance company about freelancing for her. She didn’t have any upcoming needs but forwarded a link to the purchasing department’s database so I could fill out an online form and make myself known (supposedly) to anyone in the company who may need my services.

Dutifully I moved the duty forward on The List from day to day, putting it aside as a boring and pointless task. I don’t believe anyone looks at the database, and if someone does, I don’t believe he’d choose a writer or other freelancer from this cemetery.

After two weeks of ongoing postponement, I took the time to open the template. I filled out the form against my better judgment. Then I looked around to figure out how to save my response.

Couldn’t find anywhere to click.

My own darn fault for not opting out of this drudgery right from the start. I’ve applied to such corporate databases in the past and have never received any calls from them . . . ever.

This is quite different from working through record-keeping details with Accounting to assure payment for my work. When that’s the story, the client and Accounting provide assistance to actually get the job done.

Let’s stop the deadening, go-through-the-motions, throwaway tasks. To life!

I’ve learned a lot about how to land great freelance and consulting clients and I continue to explore new ideas, which I share on this page and in my newsletter. Please sign up for the free newsletter—you will also receive Three Secrets to Freelance and Consulting Success: Start Making Great Money as a Freelancer or Consultant for High-Paying Corporate Clients. (Cancellations fully honored. Email addresses managed with complete integrity.)

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2 comments on “Enliven your work!
  1. Sue Mitchell says:

    Diana, I often joke about procrastinating certain tasks so long that they become obsolete. Brilliant to spot those right from the start and kick them off the to-do list so you can be energetically free of them.

    I also keep a future to-do list. I’ve tried TaDaList, the Covey matrix, etc. but right now I’m liking Evernote for this purpose. I have my web browser and email connected to it and can easily file stuff there for later so I can focus on what really needs to be done now. You’re right that it is very liberating!

  2. Sue, Thanks for the comment. I’ll have to check out the tools you listed.

    Sue, to be honest, checking out new tools is on my future to-do list. I’ve got lots of tools to check out. Especially regarding Twitter–what I’ve tried so far didn’t work.

    If I really want to get something listed or done, as the case may be, I create a Word document.


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